Inter and Intraorganizational Cohesion in Emergencies

August 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 2)

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The purpose of this paper is to pose and test a means to facilitate the comparative examination of interorganizational relations and behavior in emergency planning and response. Additionally we sought to define and operationalize the concept of inter- and intraorganizational cohesion in emergencies. The paper, following a review of literature on organizational behavior in disasters, describes an effort to define, and develop measures for twenty indicators of inter and intraorganizational cohesion. Data on these indicators are collected for organizations in an emergency response network at a nuclear power plant. This is done for relationships in both pre-emergency planning and for an exercise of an emergency plan. Findings regarding cohesion are presented and the implications for refining emergency organizational theory are discussed. Overall it was found that internally organizations are fairly cohesive but that cohesiveness diminishes between organizations. Communications and lack of interaction clarity appear to be the chief reasons for decreases in cohesion. In order to understand why this occurs, it is necessary to investigate the antecedents of organizational behavior that lead to cohesion breakdowns.