Organisational learning and self-adaptation in dynamic disaster environments

Corbacioglu S., Kapucu N.

DISASTERS, vol.30, no.2, pp.212-233, 2006 (SSCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/j.0361-3666.2006.00316.x
  • Journal Name: DISASTERS
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.212-233
  • Eskisehir Osmangazi University Affiliated: No


This paper examines the problems associated with inter-organisational learning and adaptation in the dynamic environments that characterise disasters. The research uses both qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate whether organisational learning took place during and in the time in between five disaster response operations in Turkey. The availability of information and its exchange and distribution within and among organisational actors determine whether self-adaptation happens in the course of a disaster response operation. Organisational flexibility supported by an appropriate information infrastructure creates conditions conducive to essential interaction and permits the flow of information. The study found that no significant organisational learning occurred within Turkish disaster management following the earthquakes in Erzincan (1992), Dinar (1995) and Ceyhan (1998). By contrast, the 'symmetry-breaking' Marmara earthquake of 1999 initiated a 'double loop' learning process that led to change in the organisational, technical and cultural aspects of Turkish disaster management, as revealed by the Duzce earthquake response operations.