Organisational features and their effect on the perceived performance of emergency management organisations
Bhandari, RB and Owen, C and Brooks, B, Organisational features and their effect on the perceived performance of emergency management organisations, Disaster Prevention and Management, 23, (3) pp. 222-242. ISSN 0965-3562 (2014) [Refereed Article]
This study reports on a survey of experienced emergency management personnel in
Australia and New Zealand to identify the influence of organisational features in perceived emergency
management performance. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the influence of organisational
features in emergency response performance and to discuss how this knowledge can be used to
enhance the response capacity of emergency services organisations.
Based on a review of the literature, a conceptual theoretical
model for organisational performance is first developed based on four organisational features found to
be previously important in emergency management organisation. These are, adaptability, leadership,
stability (mission and direction) and stakeholder communication. An organisational survey was
distributed to all 25 fire and emergency services agencies in Australia and New Zealand which
included indicators of these elements. Responses were received from experienced emergency
management personnel from fire and emergency services agencies. The sample was stratified into the
three main organisational types, namely, established, expanding and extending organisations.
The findings reveal that the predictive significance of organisational features in emergency
response performance vary among established, expanding and extending organisations. The predictive
significance of stability, adaptability and leadership for perceived success is strong in all organisational
types. It is interesting to note that the predictive significance of communicationwith external stakeholders
is low in all organisation types. This indicates the preference of emergency services agencies to look
internally within their own operations than externally to build relationships with different specialism.
The theoretical model in this study makes a first attempt to understand the
role of organisational features in emergency response performance of organisations in Australia and
New Zealand. This work contributes to theorizing emergency operations by highlighting how
organisations need to manage two orientations simultaneously: their own internal as well as external
orientations, together with their processes for managing both mission and direction and the need for
change and flexibility.
s Leadership, Adaptability, Emergency management performance, Mission and direction, Organizational features, Stakeholder communication