Disaster Science and Management
DSM 4996 – Directed Readings
Crisis management is a function of all public, private and non-profit organizations, supporting
their fundamental strategic objective of ensuring survivability and economic viability. Crisis
management decisions must reflect business reality if a private sector organization is to survive.
In some organizations, crisis management is viewed and supported as an integrated strategic
function—these are the “crisis-prepared” organizations, the characteristics of which will be
covered in subsequent sessions. Other organizations approach crisis management in a non-
comprehensive and fragmented manner which can threaten their very survival should crises
occur. These are “crisis-prone” organizations, the characteristics of which will be covered in
subsequent sessions. Competitiveness especially in the private sector can inhibit cooperation and
sharing of ideas between organizations. This is unlike the public sector, where cooperation
between all levels of government and municipalities is essential to effective emergency
management and encouraged. This class provides an introduction to crisis management as it is
applied in public, private and non-profit organizations.
The approach of typical business organizations to the many facets and problems inherent in
effective crisis management, disaster recovery, and organizational continuity has been fragmented.
Financial departments have dealt with loss control and risk management. Operational and facility
managers have been responsible for contingency planning, first responder training, and emergency
management for industrial accidents. Information department heads have created disaster recovery
procedures and business continuity plans. Most companies have developed crisis management
teams and procedures based on their industry type and perceived vulnerabilities. For example,
many petrochemical companies see crisis management as a part of the environmental safety and
health function. Crisis management in food product companies is often the domain of the legal
and corporate communications departments. In financial institutions, crisis management is closely
linked to computer system security and recovery.
This course identifies, examines, and integrates the diverse crisis management, disaster recovery,
and organizational continuity issues facing organizations. Basic crisis management, contingency
planning, disaster recovery, business continuity/resumption, and emergency management skills
and knowledge elements will be identified, discussed, developed, and integrated according to the
crisis management, disaster recovery, and organizational continuity model. The strategic
importance of crisis management, disaster recovery, and organizational continuity to private sector
organizations will be emphasized throughout the course.
Instructional methodologies, including case studies, small-group activities, and student-led
presentations are used to actively involve each student in the learning process. When possible and
practical, processing of learning activities to include not only “what” was learned, but the “so
what” and “now what” to complete the learning cycle will be followed to the maximum extent
The purpose of the course is reflected in the overall objectives set forth below:
1. Understand the similarities and differences between governmental emergency
management and crisis management in the non-profit and private sectors.
2. Understand the concepts of crisis management, disaster recovery, and
3. Clarify the characteristics of an organization which indicate crisis preparedness
(or crisis proneness) and the process of business area impact analysis..
4. Identify risk management and loss control strategies (including crisis
communications) that can be implemented to reduce the adverse impact of a
disaster on organizations.
5. Compare and contrast contingency, response, business recovery, and crisis
management plans that lead to business resumption and recovery..
Grades for the class will be based on student performance in completing six (6) class
assignments, article reviews, and a course project. During the semester, students will be asked to
complete assignments related to the section of the class. Assignments will be completed and
submitted to the course instructor for review. All class assignments will be graded and returned
to the student for review. Class assignments will comprise 50% of the course grade.
The class project will be a research report comprising at least ten pages with references. The
report will be a detailed examination of one of the class topics with a special emphasis on
technology in emergency management.
The final element of a student’s assessment involves reviews of articles. The review will
average 2 to 3 pages and will address three areas including: the content of the article; an analysis
of the article; and an evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the text. The articles will
relate to topics addressed in sessions of the class and must be currently available. The instructor
will provide a list of articles for review. The review will count 10% of the final grade.
Content: How is the article organized? What is the purpose? Who is the intended
Analysis: Did the article achieve the author’s intended goals?
Evaluation: What are the strengths and weaknesses of the article? Who could use it?
Would you recommend this reading? If so, why?
Students are required during the first three weeks of the semester to identify an individual
project topic. During the semester, the student will review the class materials on the topic and
identify issues, or a specific application of the topic for detailed analysis. The project report will
be a detailed examination of the issue or application and its contribution to business and crisis
management (ten pages double spaced). The topic for the class project must be reviewed by the
instructor. A one-page project status report must be provided to the instructor by the middle of
the semester. The project report will form the basis of a class presentation during the last two
weeks of the class. The project will count for 15% of the final grade.
Class Assignments 50%
Class Project / Papers 40%
Book Review 10%
This 4000-level class will be available for both undergrad and grad credit. Undergraduate
students will be expected to meet the requirements as noted in the Student Assessment of the
following course description. Graduate students will be assigned additional readings and have
additional questions on all assignments, tests and the final exam. Undergraduate students will be
asked to complete five class assignments, one class project / paper and a book review. The
nature of the assignment questions, scope of the class project and papers and exam questions will
differ from those given to graduate students. Graduate students will be asked to complete six
class assignment, one class project / papers and a book review. As previously notes, graduate
students may be given a different set of questions for a class assignment, and the scope of the
class paper will be more complex – reflecting additional reading assignments for graduate
This class will meet once a week for group discussion of the class assignments and readings. For
the summer 2002 and Fall 2002 offerings of this course class sessions will be for one and one-
half hours once a week. Class assignments will be submitted electronically using the LSU
1. Definition of Key Terms and Identification of Crisis Events
A Strategic Framework for Corporate Crisis Management. John R. Harrald, Institute for Crisis,
Disaster and Risk Management, The George Washington University Washington, D.C. Dr.
Harrald is a former faculty member of the LSU Ports and Waterways Institute. As a retired
Coast Guard officer you will notice his interest and professional association with the maritime
2. Crisis Events Grouping and Vulnerability Drivers - Overview of the Crisis
Management and Business Continuity Model
James R. Chiles. Inviting Disaster: Lessons from the Edge of Technology. Harper Business
(2001) – An excerpt provided by the author.
An Interview with James R. Chiles. Thursday, August 23, 2001 Guest Host: Frank Stasio.
12:00 - James R. Chiles: Inviting Disaster (HarperBusiness). Listen in RealAudio! Three Mile
Island. The Challenger explosion. The Exxon Valdez. In our increasingly high-tech world, the
slightest mechanical defect or human error can sometimes lead to catastrophe. Join us as look at
recent disasters, why they happen, and the lessons they can teach us about our use of technology.
Ask the Author from Darwin Magazine - http://www.darwinmag.com/read/
An Interview with James R. Chiles – Inviting Disaster – Harper Business (2001).
3. Vulnerability Analysis and Risk Assessment, Risk Management, and Risk
Business Area Impact Analysis (BAIA)
Risk Mitigation in Passenger Vessel Operations. John R. Harrald and Martha Grabowski.
Disaster Recovery Journal. Vol. 7, #3. Note the description of the "causal chain" described on
p. 2. You will be asked to use this framework in your analysis of the Texas A & M bon-fire
4. Risk Perception and Risk Communications
Uniting the Aggie Spirit. Since 1909 Texas A&M University students have worked together
each year to build a massive bonfire. The stack of several thousand logs collapsed early morning
on November 18, 1999, killing twelve students and injuring at least 27 others. Bonfire was
cancelled that year. It was to have been ignited on Thanksgiving evening as a prelude to Texas
A&M's November 26 morning football game with The University of Texas.
A. Read "A strategic framework for corporate crisis management," Harrald and "Risk
mitigation in passenger vessel operation" by Harrald and Grabowski.
B. Review the Final Report of the 1999 Texas A & M Bonfire Collapse.
The mission of the Special Commission on the 1999 Bonfire is to determine the cause of
the Bonfire collapse and report its findings to the university. Bonfire Commission
Report. 2000. Texas A & M University. Other Reports and Information concerning the
disaster. http://www.tamu.edu/bonfire-commission/reports/ See Blackboard for
Written response due June 20, 2002.
Class session 11:00 Room 45 Atkinson Hall - LSU Baton Rouge for discussion.
5. Risk Management, Safety, and Security Management
Organizations at Risk. Daniel J. Alesch, Holly, Mitter, & Nagy. (2001) Public Entity Risk
Institute. Fairfax, VA http://www.riskinstitute.org presents a detailed study of the perceived
impact of natural disasters on small private and not for profit enterprises. Read this study - and
especially note the following Sections: Introduction and overview; Recovery - robustness
resiliency & compex systems; Findings; Conclusions
Written response due July 3, 2002.
6. Crisis Management, Communication and Decision Making
“Principles of Risk-Based Decision Making.” Lt. Duane Boniface/ U.S. Coast Guard
Written response due July 10, 2002.
7. Crisis Management Team
“Cross-departmental Cooperation and the Politics of Planning.” by Jeff Marinstein
February, 1998. Contingency Planning and Management. Vol. 3 pp. 12 – 15. Post Accident
Audit of an Industrial Accident:
8. Post Audit Crisis Assessment
Assignment: Questions developed by Dr. John R. Harrald and Gregory Shaw
The George Washington University Institute for Crisis, Disaster, and Risk Management
9. Business Contingency Planning
Federal Emergency Management Agency. 1996. Emergency Management Guide for Business
Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency.
10. Crises of Skewed Management Values, Deception, Management Misconduct, and
Business Ethics: A Framework for Ethical Decision Making (This assignment is for
Graduate Students and only a reading assignment for undergraduate students)
“The Unanticipated Consequences of Technology.” The Ethics Connection – Tim Healy
or morality poses questions about how we ought to act and how we should live. It asks,
what standards are these actions right or wrong?" It asks, "What character traits (like honesty,
fairness) are necessary to live a truly human life?" It also asks, "What concerns or groups do we
minimize or ignore? And why might that be?" Admitting our blindness is the beginning of
“A Framework for Ethical Decision Making.” The Ethics Connection. Santa Clara, CA: Markula
Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University. [1999.] http://www.scu.edu/ethics/practicing/
Barton, Laurence (2000). Crisis in Organizations: Managing and Communicating in the Heat of
Cincinnati, OH: South-Western Publishing Co.
Chiles, James R. (2001). Inviting Disaster : Lessons from the Edge of Technology. Harper
Doughty, Ken (2000). Business Continuity Planning: Protecting your organization’s life.
Auerbach Publishers, Incorporated.
Emergency Preparedness Canada, with the Disaster Recovery Information Exchange. 1995.
Business Resumption Planning – A Guide. Fredericton, NB, Canada: Minister of Supply and
Services. email@example.com or
Federal Emergency Management Agency. 1996. Emergency Management Guide for Business
and Industry. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Fischhoff, Baruch. 1995. “Risk Perception and Communication Unplugged: Twenty Years of
Process.” Risk Analysis. Vol. 15, No. 2. Pages 137–144.
Greening, Daniel W., and Johnson, Richard A. 1997. “Managing Industrial and Environmental
Crises.” Business and Society. Vol. 36, No. 4. Pages 334–361.
Hale, Joanne. 1997. “A Layered Communication Architecture for the Support of Crisis
Response.” Journal of Management Information Systems. Vol. 14, No. 1. Armonk, NJ.
Harvard Business School (2000). Harvard Business Review on Crisis Management. Harvard
Business School Press.
Kleinrichert, Denis. 1998. Contingency Planning for Business and Industry. Institute of
Emergency Administration and Fire Science, St. Petersburg Junior College. St. Petersburg,
Florida: Institute of Emergency Administration and Fire Science. http://eam-
Lerbinger, Otto. 1997. The Crisis Manager – Facing Risk and Responsibility. Mahwah, NJ:
Lynch, James R. 1996. “Quantitative Risk Assessment: Application to Industry.” Disaster
Recovery World III. St. Louis, MO: Disaster Recovery Journal. Pages 100–101. (Vol. 7, No. 2).
Marinstein, Jeff. 1998. “Cross-Departmental Cooperation and the Politics of Planning.”
Contingency Planning and Management Vol. 3, Feb. 1998. Pages 12–15. Flemington, N.J. http://
Mitroff, Ian I., Pearson, Christine M., Harrington, L. Katharine 1996. The Essential Guide to
Managing Corporate Crises. New York: Oxford University Press.
Mitroff, Ian I. And Gus Anagos (2000). Managing Crises before they happen: What every
manager needs to know about crisis management. AMACOM.
Moore, Pat. 1997. “How to Plan for Enterprise-Wide Business and Service Continuity.” In
Disaster Resource Guide. Santa Ana, CA: Emergency Lifeline Corporation.
Myers, Kenneth N. (1999). Disasters 2ND. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 1999.
Naylis, Gerard J. 1996. “Corporate Terrorism: Managing the Threat.” Risk Management. Vol.
43, No. 6. New
Pauchant, Thierry C., and Mitroff, Ian I. 1992. Transforming the Crisis-Prone Organization. San
Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
Sample Disaster Recovery Plan. 1996. St. Louis, MO. Disaster Recovery Journal. On Disaster
Recovery Journa.l http://www.drj.com/drpol/drp.html.
Sellnow, Timothy L., Ulmer, Robert R., and Snider, Michelle. 1998. “The Compatibility of
Corrective Action in Organizational Crisis Communication.” Communication Quarterly.. Vol.
46, No. 1. University Park, MD.
Slovic, Paul. 1987. “Public Perception of Risk.” Journal of Environmental Health. May 1997.
Toigo, Jon William Toigo (1995). Disaster Recovery Planning: For Computers and
Communication Resouces. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Traverso, Debra K. 1993. “How to Develop a Crisis Communication Plan.” Occupational
Hazards. Vol. 55, No. 3. Cleveland.
“Unethical Workers and Illegal Acts.” 1999. Society. Vol. 36, No. 4.
Wold, Geoffrey, H. 1992. “Disaster Recovery Planning Process – Part I of III.” Disaster
Recovery World III. St. Louis, MO: Disaster Recovery Journal. Pages 15–18. al (Vol. 5, No. 1).
Wong, Bo K., Monaco, John. A., and Sellaro, C. Louise. 1994. “Disaster Recovery Planning:
Suggestions to Top Management.” Journal of Systems Management.” Vol. 45, No. 5. Pages 28–