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The Formation of Interorganizational Networks in Extreme Events: A Comparative Study of the 1999 ChiChi Earthquake and the 2009 Typhoon Morakot

Wang, Wen-Jiun (2012) The Formation of Interorganizational Networks in Extreme Events: A Comparative Study of the 1999 ChiChi Earthquake and the 2009 Typhoon Morakot. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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After catastrophic events, public, private and non-profit actors must find the means to act collectively to solve problems that do not stay within institutional and jurisdictional boundaries. Traditional hierarchical relationships do not provide governmental organizations with the means to solve such problems. Nor do traditional governmental structures enable organizations to work in collaborative networks. This study proposes a conceptual framework that argues that the formation of interorganizational networks is driven by formal structures and informal processes.

The purpose of this research is to explore the dynamics of collective action in a disaster response system. The conceptual framework used in this research is a synthesis of the literatures on network governance, complex adaptive system theory, institutional analysis and development, decision making, and policy change (Koppenjan and Klijn 2004; Kooiman 2003; Axelrod and Cohen 2000; Birkland 1997, 2006; Comfort 1999, 2007; Kettl 1993; Klein 1993; Ostrom 1999, 2005; Simon 1996, 1997). This conceptual framework was employed using a mixed-method case study design that investigated two disaster events that occurred in Taiwan: ChiChi Earthquake in 1999 and Typhoon Morakot in 2009. Data were collected through a content analysis of newspaper articles published in the United Daily, network analysis techniques, and semi-structured interviews with key informants that participated in the disaster response systems.

These data were used to address four research objectives. First, to identify the organizations involved in the disaster response systems. Second, to identify structure and evolution of the interactions exchanged among these organizations. Third, to identify the structure and process factors that encouraged organizations to interact within the response system. Finally, to identify the extent to which Taiwan's disaster response system learned after these two events. The findings indicate that the response operations that followed the ChiChi Earthquake and Typhoon Morakot were influenced by the tension between the need for administrative control and the need for adaptation and self-organization. The findings also indicate that disaster resilient response systems not only depend on shared cognition and the capacity to adapt during emergency situations, they also depend on striking the appropriate balance between structure and process.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee CoChairComfort, Louise K.
Committee CoChairKearns, Kevin P.
Committee MemberCoontz, Phyllis D.
Committee MemberShih, Jay N.
Date: 27 September 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 July 2012
Approval Date: 27 September 2012
Submission Date: 30 August 2012
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 243
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public and International Affairs > Public and International Affairs
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emergency Management; Governance; Network Analysis; Organizational Theory; Complex Adaptive Systems
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2012 16:56
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:03


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