The Role of IT in Crisis Response: Lessons from Sars and Asian Tsunami Disasters
Journal of Strategic Information Systems, (18:2), 2009, pp. 80-99
Posted: 21 Apr 2013
Date Written: May 20, 2009
Research on crisis management recognizes the important role of information although few studies of crisis response deal explicitly with information systems. In this paper, we present a case study of Singapore's response to the SARS and Asian Tsunami disasters. Using the resource-based view of the firm as our theoretical lens, we examine three research questions: what IS resources are needed in crisis response, how are these IS resources bundled with other non-IS resources, and how are they effectively coordinated? Our analysis of the case suggests that existing assets such as information technology infrastructure, leadership, and collaborative networks and existing capabilities such as the ability to build and apply IT, the ability to recognize signals and the ability to see the big picture are critical during crisis response. The actions taken using these assets and capabilities include informing resolutely, gaining stakeholder commitment and agile mobilizing of people and IT. Our analysis further suggests that coordination mechanisms, namely the crisis response organizational, informational, and IT structures, are important facilitators of the response actions. The resulting framework of resource deployment during crisis response extends the resource based view of the firm into a cooperative setting, aiming to understand the nature of IS resource value in a cooperative context, and considers not just the resources per se, but the means of coordination the resources.
Keywords: Crisis Response, Disaster Response, Resource Based View, Coordination Theory, Crisis Response Information System, Soft Positivism
JEL Classification: M40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation