Developing a systems approach for multi-agency co-ordination and community engagement in disaster recovery

Munday, Peter Graham

September 2015

Thesis or dissertation

© 2015 Peter Graham Munday. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This research is concerned with natural disasters located in developing countries. Designing a structured capability to properly and fully respond to such disasters is its principle remit. For many developing countries, the relative impact that a disaster has depends on the response offered. Therefore, the first focus of the research was to determine, through consultations with experienced disaster response professionals, where they believe the management of disaster responses can best be enhanced. Their answer was two-fold: multi-agency co-ordination, as literally thousands of governmental and non-governmental agencies can be involved in large-scale disaster responses; and community engagement, as too often it is the case that disaster response agencies cause new problems by imposing solutions on local people instead of working in partnership with them.

To develop an appreciation of how multi-agency co-ordination and community engagement could be integrated into a new model of disaster response, a systems approach was adopted. Systems approaches seek to develop multi-faceted understandings of problematic situations in order to propose more holistic solutions or ways forward than might be possible through a more traditional ‘command and control’ management philosophy. Taking advice from the disaster response professionals involved in the study, the research focused on developing an ideal ‘blueprint’ for a new organisation, to be located within the United Nations, with the authority to co-ordinate disaster response activities. The Viable System Model (a systems approach to organisational design) was used to develop the blueprint, and this was used, not only to demonstrate how multiple agencies could be co-ordinated, but also to show how community engagement could be integrated into the co-ordination efforts.

The contribution to knowledge of this thesis is therefore to both systems methodology (showing how the VSM could be utilised for the integration of multi-agency coordination and community engagement) as well as, potentially, to future deliberations among governments and aid agencies wanting to improve the delivery of international disaster response efforts.

Business School, The University of Hull
Midgley, Gerald; Espinosa Salazar, Angela Ma. (Angela María)
Qualification level
Qualification name
4 MB
QR Code