Wednesday 7
Disaster Resilience 1
Anne Leitch
› 11:30 - 12:30 (1h)
Promoting Socio-Organizational Resilience in Disaster: Toward a Measurement Framework of Network Capacity
Branda Nowell  1@  , Toddi Steelman  2, *@  
1 : North Carolina State University
2 : University of Saskatchewan  -  Website
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan Canada -  Canada
* : Corresponding author

Resilience to disaster has been defined as the ability of community members to take meaningful, deliberate, collective action to both minimize and remedy the effect of a disaster. A socio-organizational perspective on resilience is one that considers social relationships within the network of organizations and agencies in a community that have responsibilities in planning for and responding to a disaster. Put simply, a resilient community can be described, in part, as one that is able to minimize the disaster's impact through collaborative planning and a well-coordinated inter-agency response. Scholars have advocated that advancing knowledge of resilience in communities requires investigation into the adaptive capacities within inter-organizational networks that enhance a community's ability to prepare for and respond to a major disaster. Important questions arise over how socio-organizational perspectives on resilience to disaster can be defined and operationalized so that we might better understand whether and how we are making progress toward the practice of resilience. Without clear, theoretically sound and methodological appropriate outcomes and indicators, our ability to advance the science of disaster response, capacity building and their contributions to resilient communities is limited. We investigate these concepts and methods in the context of wildland urban interface (WUI) wildfire events, or the place where forests and communities intersect. We selected wildfire as the context for study because it is one of the most frequently occurring disasters in the United States. The goals of this paper are threefold. First, we explicate the concept of network capacity as it relates to responder networks and position it within the broader academic discourse on adaptive capacity and community resilience. Second, drawing from our field research on disaster response during large scale wildfire events as well as current literature, we describe an outcomes framework for conceptualizing network capacity and performance within responder networks. Third, we illustrate how this conceptual and methodological approach can work by providing evidence from wildfire preparedness and incidents in 2013. By grounding our framework in the contextual realities of wildfire response networks, we explore how consideration of disaster context can inform broader theory building and more robust methodological approaches for resilience.

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