Chaos Organization and Disaster Management

Chaos Organization and Disaster Management

Chaos Organization and Disaster Management

Chaos Organization and Disaster Management

Excerpt

There can be little doubt that organized disaster behaviors are an inherent trait among people throughout the world and throughout history. In the past, organized disaster behaviors were primarily in reaction to life-threatening events arising in the natural environment. These reactions reflected our adaptive ability in an often chaotic natural world to initiate organized social survival skills. They have stood us in good stead for millennia. Today, we face disasters of our own making. In the urbanized world, this adaptive process has led us to transfer these traditional disaster behaviors into formal organizations. In the past, disaster organizing was focused in the family and community whereas today it is mainly in the hands of civil servants in large complex public administrations. This transition did not take place overnight, but it has radically altered how we, the potential victims of disaster, have come to see and react to them. Despite the transition to formalized disaster management organizations, it is extremely difficult to ignore the millenium of acquired survival knowledge that has been passed down, tested, modified, and eventually institutionalized into the very fabric of our societies. It is equally difficult to ignore the social outcomes of these survival lessons as they express themselves in an ongoing “friction” with formalized disaster management. No doubt, this disagreement will become exacerbated and be with us for many years to come.

The rise of public sector administration, however, has its dangers. By putting all our eggs in the “disaster management organization” basket, we run the risk of having them all smashed. There is enough hard evidence today to suggest that this may be taking place. The question is why? My arguments for this trend point an accusing finger at the built-in organizational conflicts . . .

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