FLIRTING WITH DISASTER:
PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS
         SITUATIONS

        (2nd Edition, Forthcoming 2008)


       ...
INTRODUCTION

One of the most telling applications of the fundamental values of a society
can be found in how that society...
THE NATURE OF CRISIS SITUATIONS


•   What exactly is a crisis?

    •   How do we differentiate between a problem,
      ...
CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE

Defining Crises as Important Policy Issues:

   •   Objective Dimensions

    ...
CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE


General Perspectives on Agenda-Building and Public
Policymaking

  •   How do...
CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE


The Broader Context of Crisis Situations

   •   The Life Cycle of Policy Iss...
GOVERNMENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS
                SITUATIONS

Parallels Between Governmental Involvement in
Disasters/Cri...
GOVERNMENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS
                 SITUATIONS

Parallels Between Governmental Involvement in
Disasters/Cr...
BASIC RATIONALE OF GOVERNMENTAL
        INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS

Need to deal with situations beyond the control ...
BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF U.S. RESPONSE
                  SYSTEM

•    Objectives

•    Division of labor

•    Coordinated...
BASIC PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE
                SYSTEMS

• Survival concerns

• Coordination and consolidation

• ...
CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS


•   Individual level responses

•   Community response

•   Societal response
CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS


•   Traditional, conventional forms of human behavior

•   Unconventional forms of...
CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS


•   Emergent norms

•   Situation-specific development of emergent
    norms
POTENTIAL CONFLICT!

           GOVERNMENTAL POLICY VS
    HUMAN BEHAVIOR DURING CRISIS SITUATIONS


•   Sources of govern...
FACTORS WHICH AFFECT THE SIZE OF THE GAP


•   Magnitude of the disaster

•   Degree of governmental preparation

•   Prev...
IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES OF THE GAP


Produces different patterns of program implementation


                  Top-down Pat...
LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF THE GAP


Shapes overall assessments of governmental
               performance–


             ...
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN GOVERNMENTAL POLICY
AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR DURING CRISIS SITUATIONS



       Past governmental policy su...
HURRICANE KATRINA AS A NATURAL DISASTER


     Hit Gulf Coast of U.S. in August 2005
Affected 93,000 square miles across 138 parishes and
                      counties

       3000 people died (thousands mi...
GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO HURRICANE
                 KATRINA

What went right?

   State of emergency was declared

   Resp...
GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO HURRICANE
                 KATRINA

What went wrong?

   Lack of local preparation

   Eruption o...
WHY DID THE GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO
       HURRICANE KATRINA BREAKDOWN?

A large gap developed between public expectation...
MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE
       RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA


Cloudy Mission and Lack of Focus

   Since 9/1...
MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE
       RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA


Faltering Mobilization

   The Response Began ...
MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE
       RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA


Garbled Communication

   Government Personnel...
GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE
          TO HURRICANE KATRINA

Personnel Problems in Public Sector

    Timid Lea...
MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE
       RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA

Inattention to Administrative Procedures

    N...
MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE
       RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA


Inability to Invoke Bureaucratic Flexibility (...
WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE
             BREAKDOWNS?

Mismatch Between Governmental Policy and Disaster
          ...
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE


Adjust the current organizational framework

Improve preparation and training

Give greater r...
OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT

•    Crisis Management is a low-salience issue– until a
     disaster strikes

•...
OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT

•   Money for emergency management programs is
    limited
    (drive to connect...
OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT


              Bureaucratization
   (Development of Bureaucratic Pathologies)

 ...
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?

 THE LINKAGE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE
             PUBLIC IS FRAGILE


 MAJOR EFFORTS WILL H...
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS
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FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS

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FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS

  1. 1. FLIRTING WITH DISASTER: PUBLIC MANAGEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS (2nd Edition, Forthcoming 2008) SAUNDRA K. SCHNEIDER MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY sks@msu.edu Prepared for the 10th Annual Emergency Management Education Conference National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, MD June 5-7, 2007
  2. 2. INTRODUCTION One of the most telling applications of the fundamental values of a society can be found in how that society responds to crisis events. How a society prepares for and invests in policies to prevent or lessen the effects of such events: • Demonstrates the values placed on safety, security, human lives, and physical property • Demonstrates the capacity of its political and economic interests in decsionmaking • Demonstrates the priorities of governmental institutions and administrators to channel their technical expertise to bear on these problems • Demonstrates the relationship between citizens and government institutions
  3. 3. THE NATURE OF CRISIS SITUATIONS • What exactly is a crisis? • How do we differentiate between a problem, emergency, crisis, disaster, catastrophe? • Is a crisis objectively determined? • Is a crisis subjectively determined?
  4. 4. CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE Defining Crises as Important Policy Issues: • Objective Dimensions • Triggering Mechanisms • Spillover/Interconnectedness of issues • Symbolic Dimensions • Political Dimensions – Legitimate Governmental Involvement
  5. 5. CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE General Perspectives on Agenda-Building and Public Policymaking • How do crises get on policy agendas? • Why is it important to consider the agenda setting of crises?
  6. 6. CRISIS CONDITIONS IN POLITICAL PERSPECTIVE The Broader Context of Crisis Situations • The Life Cycle of Policy Issues • The Two Worlds of Crisis Issues
  7. 7. GOVERNMENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS Parallels Between Governmental Involvement in Disasters/Crises and Other Policy Issues • Tremendous increase in the size and scope of Governmental Involvement • Greater involvement by national governments (relative to state and local levels) • Highly reactive nature of public policymaking
  8. 8. GOVERNMENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS Parallels Between Governmental Involvement in Disasters/Crises and Other Policy Issues (continued) • High levels of attention, followed by diminishing interest • Incrementalist pressures • Efforts to move toward more proactive measures and emphases
  9. 9. BASIC RATIONALE OF GOVERNMENTAL INVOLVEMENT IN CRISIS SITUATIONS Need to deal with situations beyond the control of citizens Need for protection and security Need to redistribute resources in society Need to "insure" people against individual and collective risk Need to provide economic stabilization
  10. 10. BASIC CHARACTERISTICS OF U.S. RESPONSE SYSTEM • Objectives • Division of labor • Coordinated behavior and activities • "Formal" structure • Established policies and clearly-designed procedures
  11. 11. BASIC PROBLEMS OF GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE SYSTEMS • Survival concerns • Coordination and consolidation • Communication • Disjointed activities • Redundancy • Red tape • Responsiveness and Accountability
  12. 12. CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS • Individual level responses • Community response • Societal response
  13. 13. CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS • Traditional, conventional forms of human behavior • Unconventional forms of human behavior • Milling • Rumors • Keynoting
  14. 14. CITIZEN BEHAVIOR IN CRISIS SITUATIONS • Emergent norms • Situation-specific development of emergent norms
  15. 15. POTENTIAL CONFLICT! GOVERNMENTAL POLICY VS HUMAN BEHAVIOR DURING CRISIS SITUATIONS • Sources of governmental and citizen norms • Evolution of norms • Gap between bureaucratic and emergent norms
  16. 16. FACTORS WHICH AFFECT THE SIZE OF THE GAP • Magnitude of the disaster • Degree of governmental preparation • Prevailing orientations of the affected population • Media Framing • Political Scapegoating • Bureaucratic breakdowns
  17. 17. IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCES OF THE GAP Produces different patterns of program implementation Top-down Pattern Bottom-up Pattern Confusion Pattern
  18. 18. LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF THE GAP Shapes overall assessments of governmental performance– Success v. Failure
  19. 19. THE CONFLICT BETWEEN GOVERNMENTAL POLICY AND HUMAN BEHAVIOR DURING CRISIS SITUATIONS Past governmental policy successes Past governmental policy failures
  20. 20. HURRICANE KATRINA AS A NATURAL DISASTER Hit Gulf Coast of U.S. in August 2005
  21. 21. Affected 93,000 square miles across 138 parishes and counties 3000 people died (thousands missing) Over 1 million displaced by the storm Devastated homes, buildings, forests, vegetation
  22. 22. GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA What went right? State of emergency was declared Response plans went into effect Personnel deployed to affected areas Mandatory evacuations ordered Temporary shelters opened Declared as an “Incident of National Significance”
  23. 23. GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA What went wrong? Lack of local preparation Eruption of social unrest Faltering mobilization Failed leadership Personnel problems Lackadaisical, uncaring response Widespread public dissatisfaction and outrage with response
  24. 24. WHY DID THE GOVERNMENTAL RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA BREAKDOWN? A large gap developed between public expectations and governmental policy Why did this occur? Scope of the disaster Citizen preparation/expectations Media’s framing of the problems BREAKDOWNS IN GOVERNMENTAL SYSTEM
  25. 25. MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Cloudy Mission and Lack of Focus Since 9/11, the Governmental Response System Has Been Directed Away from Natural Disasters Toward Dealing with Terrorist Attacks
  26. 26. MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Faltering Mobilization The Response Began Slowly, with a General Feeling of Uncertainty and Inconsistency Actions Were Uncertain, Contradictory, and Counter- productive
  27. 27. MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Garbled Communication Government Personnel Did Not Communicate with Others Who Were Involved in the Process No One Seemed to Know “Who Was Doing What”
  28. 28. GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Personnel Problems in Public Sector Timid Leadership– Public Officials at All Levels of Government Were Unwilling to Take Charge of the Situation Untrained, Unprepared, and Understaffed Public Workforce Involved in Emergency Management Privatization of Operations and Personnel Retirements and Demoralization of Emergency Management Staff
  29. 29. MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Inattention to Administrative Procedures Nobody Followed the Response Plan, Including the Mayor and the City Government in New Orleans and the Louisiana’s Governor’s Office Inappropriateness of Plans
  30. 30. MAJOR GOVERNMENTAL BREAKDOWNS IN THE RESPONSE TO HURRICANE KATRINA Inability to Invoke Bureaucratic Flexibility (Effectively)
  31. 31. WHAT WERE THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE BREAKDOWNS? Mismatch Between Governmental Policy and Disaster Situation– Led to Sizable Gap Opened Up Other Societal Problems Produced Public Dissatisfaction with Governmental Response Opened Up Other Concerns About Governmental Performance Created Widespread Perceptions of Governmental Incompetency and Ineptitude
  32. 32. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHANGE Adjust the current organizational framework Improve preparation and training Give greater responsibility to state and local authorities Change existing policies and procedures Provide greater oversight– legislative, citizen, etc. Place the military in charge
  33. 33. OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT • Crisis Management is a low-salience issue– until a disaster strikes • Emergency managers and emergency service units may not have strong political constituencies • Resistance to preparation, mitigation is tough to overcome • Difficult to measure the effectiveness of emergency management policies and emergency service operations– unless there is a disaster
  34. 34. OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT • Money for emergency management programs is limited (drive to connect financial appropriations to tangible outcomes and specific indicators of success) • Diversity of hazards complicates the assessment of risk and the design of comprehensive emergency service operations • Misunderstanding about the cause, duration, and frequency of crises • “Crises are rare events/crises are inevitable”
  35. 35. OBSTACLES TO EFFECTIVE CRISIS MANAGEMENT Bureaucratization (Development of Bureaucratic Pathologies) Public Dissatisfaction Loss of Trust and Confidence Politicalization
  36. 36. WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD? THE LINKAGE BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND THE PUBLIC IS FRAGILE MAJOR EFFORTS WILL HAVE TO BE TAKEN TO RE- STORE THIS LINKAGE IT IS POSSIBLE FOR THIS HAPPEN, BUT IT WILL TAKE POLITICAL WILL, BUREAUCRATIC CHANGES, AND CITIZEN SUPPORT

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