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Khiam Lee, Sanna Malinen, & Nilakant Venkataraman. (2018). The enablers and barriers of inter-organisational collaboration in disaster management. In Kristin Stock, & Deborah Bunker (Eds.), Proceedings of ISCRAM Asia Pacific 2018: Innovating for Resilience – 1st International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management Asia Pacific. (pp. 310–316). Albany, Auckland, New Zealand: Massey Univeristy.
Abstract: Inter-organisational collaboration is often cited as a factor in effective emergency response to mitigate risks and impacts of extreme events, such as natural disasters (James, 2011; Power, 2017). However, collaboration during times of emergencies is difficult as diverse roles and authorities of other organisations (Kapucu, 2008), differences in organisational cultures and systems in place (Bharosa, Lee, & Janssen, 2010; Mendonça, Jefferson, & Harrald, 2007) and difficulty in coordination and information sharing (Bharosa et al., 2010; Huxham, 1996) can hinder collaborative development. Moreover, previous research have not paid much attention to the enablers and barriers of such collaborations in disaster settings. This research aims to investigate how collaborative systems deal with uncertainty during disaster aftermath in Malaysia, including both barriers and enablers which influence inter-organisational collaboration in disaster environments. The study employs a qualitative methodology using a multiple-case study design. Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) was the focal organisation for this research, and units of analysis were two major floods that occurred in Malaysia in 2014 and 2017. Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted with strategic and operational decision makers (from 11 different organisations) and disaster aid recipients. Qualitative research tools such as coding, memoing, constant comparison and theoretical saturation were applied to analyse the data (Charmaz, 2008). The initial findings to date detect salient enablers: proficiency of stakeholders in managing relationships, competent leaderships, and early preparedness; barriers include ambiguous organisational roles, weak legitimate framework and different perceptions on trust. This research has both academic and practical implications. The findings uncover how enablers and barriers influence collaboration between public agencies and its partners in emergencies. This research recommends solutions to collaboration barriers, and discusses how multiple partners can cooperate to resolve problems too complex for any one single organisation to manage on their own. Khiam LEE