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Views on business continuity and disaster recovery

Ihab Hanna Sawalha (Risk Management Department, American University of Madaba, Madaba, Jordan)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 25 May 2021

Issue publication date: 5 October 2021




There is a noticeable confusion in the literature between Business Continuity Planning (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Planning (DRP). The two expressions are very often used interchangeably especially when it comes to their application. In this paper, the differences between business continuity and disaster recovery are discussed. The disaster management cycle is also addressed in order to highlight the importance of having plans before, during and after the occurrence of an incident.


A review of the extant literature on business continuity and disaster recovery was made. A number of different views were then presented in order to provide a better understanding of the two concepts and their potential overlap/connection. The literature review was conducted in 2020 using a variety of academic resources ranging from journal articles to text books and credible Internet websites. Relevant journal articles were obtained from two primary databases: Emerald Insight and EBSCOhost. Keywords, such as DRP, continuity, disruption and BCP, were mainly used to facilitate the search for these resources and other related material.


Reviewing the literature revealed that BCP and DRP are not the same. Yet, they are used interchangeably very often in the literature. This indicates a possible relationship/overlap between the two. The relationship between BCP and DRP can be viewed from a variety of perspectives, which altogether provide a better understanding of their purposes and application.

Practical implications

On top of the need to differentiate between business continuity and disaster recovery, the widespread impact of the current COVID-19 crisis, especially on businesses and supply chains, has unfolded the necessity to deal with business disruptions in all their forms and the significance of quick and effective recovery. This research clarifies the purpose of BCP and the purpose of DRP and their role in combating impacts of disruptive incidents on businesses and organizations.


BCP and DRP are discussed extensively in the literature. Yet, few studies attempted to address the precise functions of the two resulting in an obvious confusion between their meaning and purpose which subsequently reduced the uniqueness of their application and the uniqueness of the application of each. Only a small minority of practitioners and academics recognise the precise differences between the two. This study aims at clarifying this misconception to a wider set of readers and interested parties.



Sawalha, I.H. (2021), "Views on business continuity and disaster recovery", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 10 No. 3, pp. 351-365.



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