2.1. Organizational Resilience
In emergency management, the concept of resilience can be understood as “bouncing back from disastrous events” [9
]. The concept includes the capacity to plan and ability to respond to threats of disasters. Cox and Perry defined the concept as “the capability of a community to face a threat, survive and bounce back or, perhaps more accurately, bounce forward into a normalcy newly defined by the disaster related to losses and changes” [11
]. The NRC (2010) added and explained resilience as a continuous capacity of communities to manage their resources during and after disasters [12
Currently, there are two dominant theoretical approaches to studying resilience. The first approach frames issues as social-ecological systems, and the second one relies considerably on institutions and governance derived from social science disciplines (i.e., psychology, anthropology, political science, and urban politics) that generally view resilience in terms of rules permitting and constraining social interaction. Both approaches view resilience as either a set of attributes assisting a community to cope with disaster or an outcome reflecting the ability of a community to recover from external shock.
A social-ecological system approach reflects various aspects of ecological systems. It is among the first perspectives to dismiss the concept that there is a pristine ecosystem and the goal of management should be to restore systems so the ecosystem can return to its previous condition [13
]. Berkes, et al. (2003) provided a shift in perspective on resilience: from a pristine ecosystem approach to a social-ecological system perspective [15
An institutions and management perspective, on the other hand, adopts an institutions and governance perspective to cull various factors promoting resilience. In this approach, the concept of institutions is defined as rules structuring interaction among organizations as a set of agents, and governance refers to various forms of institutions and inter-organizational structures that shape the process responsible for action and inaction (i.e., processes facilitating decisions and actions that are taken by organizations) [16
]. Based on these perspectives, several lines of research can be identified (i.e., social vulnerability, social capital, social support and engagement, and grass-root participation in disaster planning).
In this study, the term “organizational resilience” is defined as an actual or potential public resources improvement capability of an organization with a strong willingness to manage emergency events to enable recovering to its original condition. Examining resilience at the organizational level is critical because organizations tend to work together in minimizing operational disruptions and coordinate critical resources across administrative boundaries to aid local communities [18
]. The definition implies that inter-organizational collaboration enables organizations to assist others during disasters and, at the same time, perform core functions and manage disasters. Consistent with the ICA framework, the conceptual definition also suggests that collaboration and the ability of organizations to manage disasters depend on the strong willingness of individual organizations to internalize coordination costs contributing to organizational cohesiveness in emergency response [19
]. It is assumed that organizational cohesiveness demands individual organizations to prepare for disasters as a collective to effectively minimize operational disruption.
There are examples where local governments redirected evacuees away from their jurisdiction rather than assume responsibility for assisting evacuees. Tierney, Lindell, and Perry (2001), for example, assert that local governments are likely to neglect residents of a catastrophic event because of functional failures resulting from deficiencies in resource mobilization and risk communication. As Brunsma, Overfelt, and Picou (2007) emphasized, persistent inequities of cities as well as suburban areas in New Orleans were revealed to scholars and practitioners [21
]. Hurricane Katrina overwhelmed the internal capacity of New Orleans, and therefore the government terminated efforts to protect victims and residents. As a result, even neighboring municipalities such as the Crescent and Gretna rejected refugees from New Orleans at gunpoint in the aftermath of Katrina [14
]. In the aftermath of a catastrophic event, small cities in the U.S. that did not have adequate resources, could not assist evacuees from neighboring cities.
Other examples can also be found internationally. After the devastating Japan earthquake in 2010 for example, local governments were overwhelmed and therefore relinquished efforts to assist victims from other communities [22
]. This reluctance to assist others is not uncommon. That is because of a failure to build prior commitments and shared arrangements to jointly respond effectively and in a timely manner to disasters [23
2.2. Institutional Collective Action Framework
The institutional Collective Action (ICA) framework was built on actor-centered preference integration and the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework introduced by Ostrom [25
]. However, the IAD framework considers joint agreement or composite action grounded on individuals’ rationality; it has limitations if applied to collective action at the organizational level. The ICA framework uses similar logic if examining fragmented authority among multiple government units and collective action dilemma at the local or institutional level. In the institutional collective action dilemma, each organization is assumed to conduct risk assessment. They also have incentives if they participate in response and planning. Also, organizations may encounter high transaction costs exacerbating ICA dilemma [25
The ICA framework provides four general guidelines to understand collective action dilemma: (1) nature of the dilemma, (2) authorities directly or indirectly involved in the policy arena, (3) potential risks linked with action and inaction, and (4) incentives explaining the motivation of actors [25
]. First, the nature of the dilemma from collective action literature is to identify a collective action issue embedded in inter-organizational collaboration in which individual incentives of organizations may lead to inappropriate collective outcomes not desired by individuals [25
]. Second, authorities directly or indirectly involved in the policy arena focus on established tools and goals by collective decisions including all participants, who are involved in ICA dilemma (Williamson, 1985; Feiock, 2013). Third, potential risks and uncertainty derived from action and inaction is closely linked to transaction costs involved in a spillover effect among control, efficiency, political representation, and self-determination of organizations [7
]. Last, incentives for the motivation of organizations indicate systematic means, e.g., regulations and monitoring mechanisms, to resolve ICA dilemma by considering barriers that prevent authorities from achieving coordinated decisions [25
From the ICA framework, collaboration and the ability to effectively manage disasters depend on the willingness of individual organizations to internalize coordination costs contributing to organizational cohesiveness in emergency response [3
]. Organizational cohesiveness demands that individual organizations must prepare for disasters as a collective to minimize operational disruptions. While collaboration in emergency management is often perceived as a “good thing”, equally puzzling is the motivation of organizations to collaborate despite potential hardship in acquiring resources during disasters and functioning effectively after disasters. But, the question remains: “with whom” do they collaborate to improve the likelihood of recovering from devastation caused by disasters? To enhance the level of resilience, an organization could position itself to collaborate with a central actor to gain access to information and resources not available locally (bridging); it could also work closely with other organizations that are closely linked with each other to pool and share redundant resources (bonding). If such a strategy would generate tangible outcomes is not well understood, however.
2.3. Structural Effects on Organizational Resilience
Before presenting the general hypotheses about the effects of inter-organizational collaboration on the resilience of an organization, this study presents a hypothetical network structure representing inter-organizational collaboration (see Figure 1
). Following Andrew and Carr (2013), the network structure has seven organizations with a total of 10 links. The connections are defined as inter-organizational collaboration [20
According to the bonding effect, organization C has a high level of organizational resilience. On the other hand, according to the bridging effect, organization E has a higher level of organizational resilience (discussed further below
). An organization’s social position is conceptualized to have a high closeness score if the organization has the most number of connections with organizations that also are closely connected. On the other hand, an organization with the highest betweenness score is one that is positioned with the shortest path between any two other actors within a network [28
]. Based on the hypothetical network structure, organization C has the highest closeness score while organization E has the highest betweenness score.
. Organizational collaboration embedded in a bonding structure can enhance organizational resilience for several reasons: First, it provides individual organizations with associated benefits, which can increase inter-organizational trust, sharing of resources, and transmission of reliable information [20
]. Second, the advantages of being part of a closely knit group can be realized through building organizational credibility and reputation. This is because if there is a strong sense of commitment, obligation, and duty, the ICA framework predicts that an organization is likely to avoid behaving contrary to the expectation of group norms. An organization can also minimize the risk of not receiving assistance if the bonding structure is expected to provide mutual support. For example, the organization that provides assistance can expect similar assistance from others, which increases its ability to manage, recover, and return to normalcy after disasters [18
In emergency management literature, inter-organizational cohesion provides frequent interaction and facilitates trust by sharing operational cognition [31
]. The bonding effect strategy leads to a close-knit structure of organizations engaged in emergency management [5
]. Owen (1985) also reveals that the stronger the sense of community, the more social cohesion, which generates interlocal cooperation and participation [33
]. According to Vasavada (2013), who studied a structure of networks after the Gujarat earthquake of 2001 in India, leading organizations in a densely clustered structure are most effective in achieving network-level outcomes [34
]. This is because a high density of trust among various types of organizations can be produced through a close-knit structure. A similar conclusion was made by Sylves (2008), who asserts that inter-organizational agreements for sharing resources facilitated local organizations to effectively respond to and recover from a disaster [35
]. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that:
Organizations closely linked to other actors in a network have a higher perception on the level of organizational resilience.
. The bridging effect presents a different perspective on sources of organizational resilience. First, an organization positioned as a “gatekeeper” or a bridge between unconnected organizations is better positioned to coordinate and distribute resources such as key personnel and equipment. This organization is assumed to have better access to reliable information in to facilitate coordination of join activities [20
]. Second, from the ICA framework, being centrally positioned not only provides the organization with an opportunity to gain access to information and resources, but also the ability to minimize the possibility of organizational failure. Even though the organization can establish formal arrangements to share and coordinate resources, the organization seldom can specify outcomes of the agreement without incurring substantial transaction costs in crafting and enforcing the agreement [18
]. Subsequently, organizational resilience can be enhanced because the organization acts strategically by establishing relations with those outside its circle.
The bridging effect can be found in several examples. In the U.S., for example, the nature of a disaster is such that it requires organizations to interact with the central actor such as state-level agencies and the regional headquarter of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The structure is purposely designed to coordinate critical information and resources [5
]. Building bridges across different levels of government results in a “spider-web” emergency structure and if this coordination is effectively facilitated, it can boost organizational resilience. For example, Quarantelli, Lagadec, and Boin (2006) argues that structural bridges play a significant role in mitigating hazards and responding to modern disasters faced by organizations [4
]. The structure may arise because of administrative mandates imposed by upper levels of government through grants, financial aid, and/or programs [37
]. The central “hub” is assumed to have the ability to coordinate tasks and activities, and therefore produce an effective way to enhance organizational resilience. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that:
Organizations positioned as a central actor in a network have perceived a higher level of organizational resilience.
Previous Interaction Effects
. A commitment to participate in emergency management exercises can enhance organizational resilience for the following reasons: First, pre-established mutual agreements for providing resources allows organizations to make connections prior to disasters [3
]. The emphasis is on the development of shared goals leading to a reduction in coordination costs. Comfort (2007) contends that interactions accelerate the possibility of building a common cognitive management system [31
Second, scholars in the emergency management field also suggest that emergency table-top exercises and drills signal the credibility of an organization to build trust for sharing resources [38
]. Before a disaster, emergency exercises involving core organizations provides opportunities to learn from experience. Previous experience and frequency of interaction allow organizations to effectively coordinate and mobilize their resources during emergency response operations [41
]. For example, emergency medicine residency programs in the U.S. highlight the benefits that stem from participating in high-quality medical disaster exercises within the time of disaster response [42
]. Kapucu, Arslan, and Demiroz (2010) also point out that frequent interaction through emergency exercises before a disaster contributes to strengthening response capabilities and enhancing organizational resilience [43
]. Therefore, this study hypothesizes that:
Organizations with previous interaction during emergency exercises have a higher level of organizational resilience.
2.4. Emergency Management in South Korea
This empirical study examined within the component of emergency preparedness, the pattern of inter-organizational collaboration in South Korea. Currently, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is the central agency responsible for developing and coordinating a comprehensive emergency management system. Established in 2004, NEMA is authorized by the Basic Act on Emergency and Safety Management (2004) to implement and develop a national emergency management system that is comprehensive, risk-based, and adopts an all-hazards approach [44
However, the national emergency management system has been criticized on several grounds. For example, public agencies at the national level are assumed to play the leading role and provide directives to lower level governments, without considering local preferences. They devote more attention to emergency response rather than mitigation and preparedness. According to Jung and Song (2015), the national government is only ready to act if human error or technological hazards cause disasters rather than natural disasters [19
]. The national legislation and public programs focus on vertical networks rather than horizontal relations. Therefore, little is done to encourage inter-organizational collaboration across non-governmental, business, and local community-based organizations [3
At the regional level, the pattern of inter-organizational collaboration, arguably, had been influenced much by the country’s bureaucratic norms and structure. At the provincial level, for example, regional governments function as an intermediary role between the national and local governments. The intermediary function is not only providing necessary information from localities to NEMA for assistance and emergency aids, but also certifies local emergency operations plans. The plans must be consistent with the provincial government’s emergency operations plan. During disaster response, the emergency operations headquarters at the provincial level would coordinate activities between the Central Emergency and Safety Operations Headquarter (CESOP) and localities’ emergency operations centers. The provincial government would also coordinate joint response if local governments are overwhelmed by disaster response and, within their respective jurisdiction, could provide directives to local governments.
There is evidence of inter-organizational collaboration at the municipal level. Administrative responsibilities in emergency response are supplemented by local efforts, i.e., formal agreements are established across provincial or metropolitan political boundaries. For example, a bilateral agreement was established in August 2012 between Gangseo City in Busan and Geoje City. The formal agreement was on the development of preparedness and response plans related to emergencies on Geoga-Busan’s bridge-tunnel fixed links. Such an agreement was not common in the southeastern region of the Korean peninsula. Another example is a bilateral agreement between Yangsan (city) and the Busan Meteorological Agency concluded in April 2008 with a joint meteorological observation agreement. A multi-lateral agreement has also been established between municipal governments. On August 2010, for example, an agreement was formed between 14 local governments in Busan and the South Kyeongsang province concerning emergencies related to floods caused by the Nakdong River. In emergency management, local governments also established agreements with non-governmental organizations such as the Busan Volunteers Center and the regional branch of an NGO Living Good Movement in Busan.
The nature of inter-organizational collaboration is also consistent with observations in the field. For example, since the introduction of the Local Autonomy Act (1990/1994/1995/1989) and the Local Finance Act (1988) as well as the passage of the Devolution Promotion Act in 1999, there have been a growing number of NGOs established at the local level. Although the national government still plays a significant role in guiding local affairs, as local autonomy expands to include public programs and services, local governments are increasingly coordinating services with community-based organizations and NGOs. An increasing importance of locality-NGO relations has been documented elsewhere. But, more importantly, the concern for civil society has mobilized local leaders and communities to self-organize and pursue a greater local autonomy.
The next section examines the pattern of emergency management practices in South Korea. Although collaboration can enhance the likelihood and scope of regional integration, patterns of inter-organizational collaboration in South Korea are still understudied.