Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Organizational Learning in Adapting to Dynamic Disaster Environments in Southern Turkey

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 3:30 PM
Foster I (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Suleyman Celik, Gazi University and Sitki Corbacioglu, Eskisehir Osmangazi University
Disaster environments are complex, encompassing ill-structured policy problems. Disasters change the regular flow and order of organizational and societal structure. Many organizations with different organizational cultures and from different sectors spontaneously go to help the stricken communities. The complexity of disaster environments requires complex public policies that can foster collective and coordinated inter-organizational response. Informed collective response requires going beyond linearly designed laws and regulations by increasing the technical, cultural, and organizational capacity for timely and coordinated action.

Using a theoretical framework based on complex adaptive systems, this study analyzes the interaction structures for two disaster response systems following the 2006 Avian Influenza Crisis and the 2011 Van Earthquake in Turkey.  These two events are different types of disasters, but they represent some similarities that make it possible to compare and contrast the structure of response systems that emerged from the response operations. The first similarity: The two events created threats in approximately the same geographic region within the period of five years. The second: Mostly the same actors were involved in the response systems. These similarities present opportunities to analyze whether the changes introduced to the technical and organizational structure of whole disaster system after the 2006 Avian Flu disaster made any improvements in the response capacity of the whole disaster management system. The study addresses the research questions below: 

1. What organizations participated in each response system, and what patterns of interaction developed among the participating organizations for each system?

2. How did the structure of emergency response systems change over the five-year period, from 2006 to 2011 within Turkish Emergency Management System?  

3. To what extent did the technical and organizational changes in system have an impact on the operational structure of the response systems from 2006 to 2011?

The study utilizes data from content analyses of news reports from the Turkish daily newspapers Cumhuriyet and Sabah from December 28, 2005 to  January 17, 2006 for the Avian Influenza, and Hurriyet from October 23, 2011 to November 8, 2011 for  the 2011 Van Earthquake, respectively.  The study also uses data of situation reports, field observations of domestic and international organizations and official evaluations of disaster agencies to validate the information gathered from content analyses of newspapers.

To compare and evaluate interaction structures of the two response systems, we used analytic tools that are social network analysis (Borgatti, Everett, and Freeman, 2002) and quadratic assignment procedure (Krackhardt 1987) and Small World Ratio (Watts and Strogatz 1998). We used centrality measurements and cliques’ data of social network analysis that provide information about response structure and shows to what extent agencies are located at the center/outside of disaster response systems. Quadratic assignment procedure provides data to evaluate if there is a structural difference between two response systems. Finally, small world ratio analysis provides information whether the system learned from the previous disaster and changed structurally to adapt disaster environments.  This analysis provides an evidence-based set of recommendations for policy change for mobilizing collective action in dynamic policy environments.