In the aftermath of a disaster there is often a call for mass relocation of exposed populations. The surrounding institutional context, comprised of normative and cultural-cognitive elements in addition to regulations, guides decisions made by relocation organizations. The theory of organizational institutionalism provides a window into beliefs, social norms, and coercive measures, but has not yet been employed to study relocation decision making. We investigated relocation in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 to illustrate how regulative, normative, and cultural-cognitive ‘pillars’ of institutions affected the who, what, where, when, why, and how of relocation decisions. Results from the analysis of interviews, meeting observations, and documentation highlight areas of both discord and harmony between institutional pillars. Regulative and cultural-cognitive institutional influences often counter each other and can pull implementing organizations in opposite directions, particularly across the national-local divide. For example, in considering who drove implementation decisions, regulatory mandates determined which organizations originally participated but cultural-cognitive views eventually amplified organizational identities and diversified participation. The regulative and cultural-cognitive pillar were only unified in their influence on where to best place relocation development. Normative influences strongly impacted the how of implementation by defining proper behavior and communication both in and between inter- organizational meetings. However, how is increasingly pressured by cultural-cognitive appeals for improved implementation coordination. An emerging trend for future analysis is the need to study how post-disaster relocation motivates institutional change.
Palagi, S., and Javernick-Will, A. (2019). “Institutional Constraints Influencing Relocation Decision Making and Implementation.” International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 33:310-320. 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2018.10.016.