Post-disaster contexts present one of the most challenging functional environments for organizations. The effective allocation of resources and harmonious synchronization of reconstruction activities are considered paramount factors in effective recovery. Coordination has been examined through numerous ideological lenses from scholars, however the notion of emergent practice has underscored recent trends in disaster literature. Past findings have suggested that the dynamic and adaptive structures that result from emergent coordination are more effective in handling the demands of post-disaster complexity, however there is little evidence to show how these practices develop. We examine the case of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines to demonstrate how coordination practice emerged in the planning of infrastructure systems, applying theory from emergence to explain adoption of practice that lends insight into coordinating behavior of organizations. Findings demonstrate that geography and sectors under the humanitarian clusters were most influential in shaping coordination structures while informal relationships and institutional policies were the defining factors in the emergence of communicative processes. Characterizing these organizational behaviors as they evolve in real time has yet to be documented and serves to better inform future organizational communication strategies in humanitarian contexts and theory on social movements of organizations under time-pressured environments.
Opdyke, A., Javernick-Will, A., Koschmann, M., and Moench, H. (2015). “Emergent Coordination Practice in Post-Disaster Planning of Infrastructure Systems.” Engineering Project Organizations Conference. Edinburgh, Scotland.