The Organization of Disaster Response Core Concepts and Processes

November 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 3)

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A theory of the structure and process of organization is being developed from archival data which describe the activities of established and emergent groups and organizations following disasters. The theory points to four necessary and sufficient elements of organization--domain, tasks, human and material resources, and activities--while making no assumption about their patterning in time and space. It is argued that 24 logically possible patterns of initiating, maintaining, and suspending organization reflect an underlying continuum of Weberian formal rationality to more elemental forms of collective behavior. Documented patterns for 423 instances of organization from 15 events, the disaster demands to which they were directed, and the focal organizations who performed them are presented. Implications of the evolving theory for disaster research and general sociology are discussed.