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Organisational design and management for post disaster reconstruction programmes: the case of Bam

Arefian, F; (2015) Organisational design and management for post disaster reconstruction programmes: the case of Bam. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Contemporary advances in the intersection between disaster and development studies characterise recovery and reconstruction with a multiplicity of tasks and objectives. For example, one of the aims of reconstruction is to contribute to future disaster risk reduction. Reconstruction, which covers the physical re-development of the built environment, is one element of post-disaster recovery; recovery is multi-dimensional, including psycho-social, economic and environmental recovery. In practice, organising such reconstruction programmes that can achieve development objectives and contribute to multi-dimension recovery have proven problematic. Despite the increasing recognition of problems and difficulties, there is an imbalance in the literature in disaster fields that leans toward ‘what’ is expected from reconstruction with less attention to ‘how’ to organise reconstruction towards delivery of such expectations. There appears to be a gap in the theory that supports organising reconstruction programmes towards their contemporary expectations. The importance of organisational design is an emerging notion within reconstruction field. The purpose of this research is to explore, within the case of Bam after the 2003 earthquake, how organisational design and management of the reconstruction programme have influenced the approach and achievement of the objectives of the reconstruction programme. The Bam reconstruction had three objectives: safeguarding historical urban identity, building earthquake resistant buildings, and mobilising people to participate. The housing reconstruction programme in Bam was a complex case, offering learning opportunities to understand organisational design and management. Through a synthesis of a broader inter-disciplinary literature in the field of disaster studies, organisation and management, this research offers a conceptual framework for the organisational design and management of reconstruction programmes. In the absence of an established conceptual model or analytical framework the case study has been studied through an exploratory approach employing this conceptual framework. Qualitative and supporting quantitative data was collected through multiple sources, including 59 in-depth and semi-structured interviews with key people in national, provincial and local involved organisations, other related organisations and beneficiaries. The researcher’s real-time participation in the programme implementation after the 2003 earthquake also enables deeper insights and understanding about the case. The case study research explores how the housing reconstruction programme system was formed purposefully towards the delivery of the stated objectives. For each objective practical consideration were introduced. The delivery system gathered those practical considerations and created an innovative housing process throughout the Bam area. The programme delivery system formation had both consistencies and inconsistencies, namely in unit grouping, decentralisation, control mechanisms, accountability and the workflow. The system evolved during its implementation to reflect unfolding consequences of inconsistencies in initial formation and emerging contextual issues in the field, such as changing the national government. The Bam case provides evidences that post disaster reconstruction programmes require innovative delivery systems but the configuration of the system must be consistent among those organisational attributes. Evidences showed that both formation and implementation of the delivery system for reconstruction programmes require strategic management. Although the Bam case presents a purposeful approach it lacked the strategic thinking approach, for example, the three strategic objectives were treated in isolation, were not prioritised and the interconnected practical considerations for objectives were not identified. The case showed informal social learning for disaster affected people has an important role for longer term impact on disaster risk reduction. Social learning takes place in common shared places among different groups active in reconstruction. The reconstruction programme formation can provide such common places. It needs the recognition of the importance of informal social learning while forming the delivery system. Reconstruction programmes have multi-organisation delivery systems that inherit the likelihood of developing divergent approaches towards reconstruction objectives, reconfirming the need for a strategic approach to the reconstruction programme implementation. Engaging organisations that are involved in housing process in normal situations has the potential to positively influence the practice of housing process for integrating measures for disaster risk reduction. The evidence-based learning opportunities and the research propositions advance the practice theory knowledge contributes to bridging the aforementioned theoretical gap towards better organising reconstruction activities in practice.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Organisational design and management for post disaster reconstruction programmes: the case of Bam
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Development Planning Unit
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1472009
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