Who takes risks? A framework on organizational risk-taking during sudden-onset disasters

Shaheen, Iana, Azadegan, Arash and Roscoe, Samuel (2021) Who takes risks? A framework on organizational risk-taking during sudden-onset disasters. Production and Operations Management. ISSN 1059-1478

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Abstract

Do humanitarian organizations exhibit similar risk-taking behavior? This study analyzed 60 interviews from 24 case studies on four types of organizations involved in disaster response: established, expanding, extending, and emergent. By elaborating on organizational attention theory, this study investigated how organizational tasks, structures, attention, and context combine to influence organizational risk-taking behavior by different organizational types during sudden-onset disasters. Counterintuitively, the results indicate that two organizational types shift their risk-taking behavior in reverse directions during disaster response stages. Expanding organizations (e.g., primary disaster response NGOs) are generally risk-averse during the immediate response stage but become risk-taking during the short-term recovery stage. In contrast, extending organizations (e.g., homeless shelters) are risk-taking during the immediate response but become risk-averse during short-term recovery. While established organizations are generally risk-averse, the study differentiated between two sub-types of established organizations with nuanced differences in risk-taking behavior. Finally, while emergent organizations show a propensity toward risk-taking, the results differentiate between two emergent sub-types, where the socially emergent sub-type (e.g., church volunteer groups) shows more pronounced risk-taking behavior than the enterprise emergent subtype (e.g., corporate volunteer groups). The study contributes to organizational attention theory by showing how the varied risk-taking behaviors are related to the three dimensions of performance (resource agility, resource adaptability, and resource alignment), commonly referred to as the Triple-A model. The study implications provide researchers and managers with a framework to help understand and predict risk-taking behavior by organizational types and sub-types during disaster relief operations.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Disaster relief operations, Humanitarian operations management, Risk propensity, Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), Organizational Attention Theory
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Management
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2021 07:14
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2021 08:45
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/99680

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