Coordinating Expertise Among Emergent Groups Responding to Disasters

Organization Science Vol. 18, No. 1, January–February 2007, pp. 147–161

16 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2014

See all articles by Ann Majchrzak

Ann Majchrzak

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Sirkka Jarvenpaa

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business

Andrea B. Hollingshead

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 10, 2014

Abstract

In the aftermath of catastrophic events, when plans for organized and timely response break down, impromptu groups often emerge to provide disaster relief. Much remains to be learned about the internal dynamics of these emergent response groups whose representatives may include members from organizations with relief missions; private sector organizations offering resources; and private citizens with the information, relationships, or physical and mental stamina to help. Organizational theories have the potential to contribute to a better understanding of emergent response groups and how they efficiently coordinate knowledge, people, resources, tasks, and technology, thereby substantially improving disaster response for future catastrophes. We apply one organization science theory toward better understanding of these groups — transactive memory systems theory — which is a theory about knowledge coordination in groups. Our application of this theory to emergent response groups requires extending the theory in three ways: the role of expertise in task assignment, how groups function when credibility in member expertise cannot be validated, and how expertise is coordinated. By demonstrating how transactive memory systems theory can be extended to the unique operating conditions of emergent response groups, we hope to inspire organization science researchers to accept the challenge of adapting their theories to study this important problem of our time.

Suggested Citation

Majchrzak, Ann and Jarvenpaa, Sirkka and Hollingshead, Andrea B., Coordinating Expertise Among Emergent Groups Responding to Disasters (December 10, 2014). Organization Science Vol. 18, No. 1, January–February 2007, pp. 147–161, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2536514

Ann Majchrzak (Contact Author)

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business ( email )

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

Sirkka Jarvenpaa

University of Texas at Austin - Red McCombs School of Business ( email )

Austin, TX 78712
United States

Andrea B. Hollingshead

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ( email )

3502 Watt Way
Suite 101A
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
2138214081 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Communication%20and%20Journalism/HollingsheadA.aspx

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

701 Exposition Blvd
Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

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