The Critics Corner

August 1997 (VOL. 15, NO. 2)

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Response to David F. Gillespie’s Review of Organizing, Role Enactment and Disaster: A Structural Theory by Gary A. Kreps and Susan Lovegren Bosworth.\r\nAuthor(s): Gary A. Kreps and Susan Lovegren Bosworth\r\nAbstract:\r\nWe would like to respond to David Gillespie’s review of our book in the spirit of creating hopefully a useful dialogue about our continuing research program.\r\nGillespie (1996, p. 249) points to “the tremendous amount of work necessary to developing theory.” We agree. We have detailed the ups and downs of theory building in our book, and Gillespie had outlined and critiqued some of those experiences. The methodological concerns we and he have raised are real, but the book was not intended as a tool “for learning about the limitations of quantitative analyses with qualitative data” (p. 249). Our book was designed as a treatise on a theory of role enactment and organizing during disasters.\r\nGillespie does not engage that theory. Instead, he says that the quality of our data and analyses are “fatal” to the theory and its usefulness (p. 247). Such a serious charge warrants careful review of the theory itself, its concepts, and our analyses. We would welcome comments about the problems with the structural code and taxonomy, or our conception and measurement of role enactment, or findings that are contrary to earlier research, or flaws in our reasoning, or findings that are contrary to earlier research, or flaws in our reasoning, or evidence that we have overstated (or understated) our case for empirically based principles of emergency management. Gillespie focuses on our analyses and two of our concepts (see General Issues) bur does not critique our work on its own terms. In this response we address the two general issues of weak data and analyses and offer five correctives on specific points raised by Gillespie.\r\n