Analyzing how and what the local multi-utility AIMAG learned through the 2012 Northern Italy earthquakes, the purpose of this paper is to “normalize” the organizational learning (OL) triggered by disasters.
Seven managers who experienced the earthquakes were interviewed. The collected data are supplemented by archival materials. The analysis was conducted based on the 4I model (Crossan et al., 1999), using the qualitative data analysis tool “NVivo.”
The earthquakes audited AIMAG’s knowledge repositories, revealing its weakness and strength. When the earthquakes struck, individuals intuited the situations based on their previous experience, interpreting the need to respond to the interruptions and begin recovery immediately. The collective interpretation formed the basis for joint actions, which integrated the group learning at the organizational level. The effective cognition and behavior were instituted to the organization, and the new knowledge was absorbed into the organization’s knowledge repositories awaiting the next audit.
The concept of “learning through disasters” is advocated. By perceiving disasters as a series of interruptions that may have happened before and may re-occur, the learning is connected to organizations’ past and future through knowledge repositories. In addition, by analyzing data based on the multi-level OL model, the learning triggered by disasters was observed to occur throughout the organization at individual, group and organizational levels, in which routines played a critical linking role.
Zhou, S., Battaglia, M. and Frey, M. (2018), "Organizational learning through disasters: a multi-utility company’s experience", Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 27 No. 2, pp. 243-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/DPM-11-2017-0290Download as .RIS
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