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The dynamics of cross-sector collaboration in disasters

Khiam Jin Lee (Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Sanna K. Malinen (Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)
Venkataraman Nilakant (Department of Management, Marketing and Entrepreneurship, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand)

Disaster Prevention and Management

ISSN: 0965-3562

Article publication date: 7 April 2023

Issue publication date: 12 July 2023

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Abstract

Purpose

This study examines challenges to cross-sector collaboration in disasters. The authors use Malaysian flooding as the context for the study and offer a framework to understand different types of collaborators in disaster settings.

Design/methodology/approach

Data were collected with semi-structured interviews, complemented with secondary data from government documents and news reports. The authors interviewed a total of 30 participants including six disaster aid recipients and 24 strategic and operational participants from 12 disaster management organizations. Thematic analysis was conducted including two cycles of coding, memoing and constant comparisons.

Findings

The authors present two key theoretical contributions: key barriers to cross-sector collaboration and a typology of collaboration in disasters. Key barriers include leadership approach and central vs local decision-making, differing levels of motivation to collaborate and the organizations' ability to collaborate in disasters. Despite these barriers, collaboration does occur in disaster settings. The authors suggest that the forms of collaboration may be driven primarily by differing motivations to collaborate and differing perceptions of others’ ability to collaborate, resulting in four types of collaboration: (1) enthusiastic, (2) mandate-driven, (3) reluctant and (4) non-collaboration.

Originality/value

The authors show that although the command-and-control model was dominant, organizations also attempted to improve disaster management efficacy through collaborative approaches. Central institutional agencies and their wider external partners are capable of using cross-sector collaboration as a strategy to tackle the complex problems post-disaster. However, pre-disaster relationship building will likely help organizations to collaborate more effectively when a disaster occurs.

Keywords

Citation

Lee, K.J., Malinen, S.K. and Nilakant, V. (2023), "The dynamics of cross-sector collaboration in disasters", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 32 No. 2, pp. 337-351. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-09-2022-0184

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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