|Ph.D Student||Rapaport Carmit|
|Subject||Business Continuity as an Adaptive Social Process:|
Organizing for Organizational Survival
|Department||Department of Industrial Engineering and Management||Supervisor||Professor Alan Kirschenbaum|
|Full Thesis text|
A critical test of a society facing a disaster is the ability to maintain continuity of services in both the private and public sector. Unfortunately, little research exists that has examined the underlying organizational mechanisms that enhance organizational continuity. We examine these mechanisms by focusing on a social process evolving among managers and employees in work organizations during a human made ongoing disaster. By doing so we were able to predict conditions facilitating an organization's ability to maintain operational continuity. Building on theories of organizational and disaster behavior, we examined evidence acquired from twenty-one public and private organizations that underwent the Katyusha rocket bombardment of Northern Israel for over a three week period during the “Israel-Lebanon War” (2006). A field study accompanied by interviews, structured questionnaires and organizational sources of financial/production data formed the basis for the analysis. The results support the notion that organizational response to a disaster includes a process of internal behavioral and social adaptation to new and changing conditions. On the one hand, the organization's managers react according to administrative and managerial constraints. The day-to-day operations, however, are maintained as employees' adapt their own behavior to the changing demands of the situation. Such adjustment to the new demands of the environment depended on a series of social process predictors such as emergent adaptive and prosocial behaviors and social networks at the workplace. We develop the concept of adaptive behavior at organizations during disasters, focusing on both social factors and motivational elements and explore how adaptive behavior emerges in organizational context when employees are part of companies as workers, and at the same time their actions are also monitored by being family and community members under stressful conditions. The findings support the notion that adaptive behaviors play a critical role within organizations for maintaining organizational continuity during and after a disaster.
The findings strongly suggest that such adaptive behaviors during a crisis form one of the fundamental social mechanisms for organizational change through a process of organizational learning. Finally, we use the results as a platform for inter-organizational networking for increasing resilience in future disaster and crisis events.