Organisations facing Crisis

3organisations facing crisis - ross1216Crises come in many forms for organisations, ranging from natural disasters, failure of a critical supplier, a major accident, reputational storm etc. In our research we define organisational crises broadly as a set of circumstances, which if managed poorly, has the ability to bring an organisation to its knees.

There is much we can learn from organisations that have faced crises and either failed, survived, or thrived in their aftermath. In this research theme we look for core lessons that can be taken from their experiences.

With Christchurch being rocked by major earthquakes in recent years (over 10,000 earthquakes in eighteen months) the research team are actively tracking the impacts of these earthquakes on organisations, and how these organisations are recovering.

We have researchers looking at the following aspects of recovery from the Canterbury earthquake sequence:

  • the recovery of organisations within Central Business Districts (CBD) affected by the earthquake
  • how organisations in Canterbury are utilising collaborative approaches to support their recovery
  • the effects external aid has upon small to medium sized enterprises’ resilience in both rural and urban settings in New Zealand
  • using a systems approach to investigate the key elements of recovery and resilience for organisations and industry sectors in the Canterbury region.

Case Studies


Factors Influencing Impacts on and Recovery Trends of Organisations: Evidence from the 2010/2011 Canterbury Earthquakes

Charlotte Brown, Joanne Stevenson, Sonia Giovinazzi, Erica Seville, John Vargo
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction Volume 14, Part 1, December 2015, Pages 56–72

From Disaster to Opportunity: Reviving Urban Function after the Canterbury Earthquakes.

Joanne Stevenson, Sonia Giovinazzi, Erica Seville, Charlotte Brown, Yan (Alice) Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson.  In the book:  Pierre Filion, Gary Sands and Mark Skidmore (Eds) Cities at Risk: Planning for and recovering from natural disasters.  Ashgate, UK, 2015.

Organisational Resilience  and Recovery for Canterbury Organisations after the 4 September 2010 Earthquake

Hlekiwe Kachali, Joanne Stevenson, Zachary Whitman, Tracy Hatton, Erica Seville, John Vargo and Tom Wilson. R Bhamra (ed), Organisational Resilience: Concepts, Integration and Practice, Chapter 10, CRC Press, Florida, October 2015.

Skills Shortages in the Christchurch Subcontracting Sector

Imelda Saran Piri, Yan Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson
ANDROID Residential Doctoral School Proceeding, 5th International Conference on Building Resilience, Newcastle, Australia, 15-17th July 2015. The paper received the ANDROID Residential Doctoral School 2015 Best Paper Award.

A Systems Approach to Managing Human Resources in Disaster Recovery Projects

Dr Yan Chang-Richards, Professor Suzanne Wilkinson, Dr Erica Seville, David Brunsdon
ANDROID Residential Doctoral School Proceeding, 5th International Conference on Building Resilience, Newcastle, Australia, 15-17th July 2015. The paper received the Emerald Best Conference Paper Award 2015.

A Study of Factors Influencing Post-Earthquake Decisions on Buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand

Jenna Jihyun Kim, Kenneth J. Elwood, Stephanie E. Chang, Frederic Marquis
11th Canadian Conference on Earthquake Engineering, Canadian Association for Earthquake Engineering

Investment in the Construction Sector to Reduce Disaster Risk Management

Suzanne Wilkinson, Alice Yan Chang-Richards, Zulkfli Sapeciay, and Resilient Organisations, New Zealand.
Input Paper to the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

 Developing the Business Behaviours Module within MERIT

Charlotte Brown, Erica Seville, Joanne Stevenson, Sonia Giovinazzi, John Vargo.
July 2015. ERI Research Report 2015/02.

Addressing Inter-Sectoral Linkages and Interdependencies:  A study of the past disaster events

Alice Yan Chang-Richards, Erica Seville, Suzanne Wilkinson, Hlekiwe Kachali, Joanne Stevenson.
Input Paper to the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

Post-Disaster Challenges and Opportunities: Lessons from the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake and Great Eastern Japan Earthquake and Tsunami

Frederico Ferreira Pedroso, Joel Teo, Erica Seville, Sonia Giovanazzi, John Vargo.
Input Paper to the Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction 2015

Industry sector recovery following the Canterbury earthquakes

H. Kachali, Z. Whitman, JR. StevensonJ. Vargo, E. Seville and T. Wilson.
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Volume 12, June 2015, Pages 42–52 (pre-print Link to attached/published link to:

Resilience and Recovery: Business Behaviour Following the Canterbury Earthquakes

E. Seville, J.R. Stevenson, J. Vargo, C. Brown, S. Giovinazzi.
IST Workshop on the Economics of Community Disaster Resilience, 29-30 April 2015, Washington DC.

Knowledge management and tourism recovery (de)marketing: The Christchurch earthquakes 2010-2011.

pre-print version C. Orchiston & J. Higham. Taylor and Francis Online (2014). (published version)

Organisational Resilience after the Canterbury Earthquakes: A Contextual Approach.

Joanne R. Stevenson, University of Canterbury, PhD thesis, 2014.

Factors influencing Impacts on and recovery trends of organisations: Evidence from the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Charlotte Brown, Joanne R. Stevenson, Sonia Giovinazzi, Erica Seville, John Vargo. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction (2014).

Disruption and Resilience: How Organisations coped with the Canterbury Earthquakes. 

Seville, E, Stevenson, J., Brown, C., Giovinazzi, S., Vargo, J. ERI Research Report 2014/002. December 2014.

Regional and sub-sector impacts of Canterbury earthquake sequence for tourism businesses.

Orchiston, C.,  Seville, E.,  and Vargo, J. Australian Journal of Emergency Management, Vol 29, No. 4, October 2014

Grey District Readiness for a Major Catastrophic Event: Grey District Council.  

On behalf of the Grey District Council. Report prepared by Ian McCahon, David Elms, Rob Dewhirst, Hlekiwe Kachali.  August 2012

Building Natural Disaster Response Capacity: Sound workforce strategies for recovery and reconstruction. (2013).  

APEC Human Resources Development Working Group. Report prepared by Alice Yan Chang-Richards, Erica Seville, Suzanne Wilkinson, Bernard Walker.  December 2013

Transforming Governance: How National Policies and Organizations for Managing Disaster Recovery Evolved Following the 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes.

Laurie A. Johnson, and Ljubica Mamula-Seadon. Earthquake Spectra, Volume 30, No. 1, pages 577–605, February 2014.

Organizational Networks and Recovery Following the Canterbury Earthquakes.

J. R. Stevenson,  Y. Chang-Richards, D. Conradson, S. Wilkinson, J. Vargo, E. Seville, and D. Brunsdon. Earthquake Spectra, Volume 30, No. 1, pages 555–575, February 2014.

The Earthquake Support Subsidy for Christchurch's small and medium enterprises: Perspectives from business owners.

(preprint version). Ruth Fischer-Smith. (2013) Small Enterprise Research, Vol 20, Issue 1, 40-54. (published version)

Urban Disaster Recovery in Christchurch: The Central Business District Cordon and Other Critical Decisions.(pre-print version).

Stephanie E. Chang, Josh E. Taylor, Kenneth J. Elwood, Erica Seville, Dave Brunsdon, and Mikaël Gartner. (2014) Earthquake Spectra. doi: 10.1193/022413EQS050M (published version)

Organisational resilience following the Darfield earthquake of 2010 (pre-print version)

Zachary Whitman, Joanne Stevenson, Hlekiwe Kachali, Erica Seville, John Vargo, and Thomas Wilson. (2014) Disasters, 38: 148–177. doi: 10.1111/disa.12036 (published version)

Rural Organisational Impacts, Responses, and Recoveries to Natural Disasters: Case studies from the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence and the 2010 Southland Snowstorm.

Zach Whitman, University of Canterbury, PhD thesis 2014.

Organisational Resilience to Natural Disasters: New Zealand's experience.

(English translation) Alice Chang-Richards, John Vargo, Erica Seville. China Policy Review, Volume 10 – 2013, pp 117 – 119.

Rural organizational impacts, mitigation strategies, and resilience to the 2010 Darfield earthquake, New Zealand. 

Z. R. Whitman, T. M. Wilson, E. Seville, J. Vargo, J. R. Stevenson, H. Kachali, J. Cole.  Natural Hazards, 2013, DOI 10.1007/s11069-013-0782-z (preprint).

Insurance in the tourism sector after the Canterbury earthquakes.

Orchiston, C., Vargo, J., Seville, E., (2013), Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF), Vol. 35, Iss. No 4.

Key Elements of Sectoral Recovery and Resilience after the Canterbury Earthquakes: A System Dynamics Approach.

Hlekiwe Kachali, University of Canterbury, PhD thesis 2013. Appendices.

Managing Staff in Disasters - Interim Advice

Bernard Walker, Venkataraman Nilakant, Kate van Heugten, Kylie Rochford
(Report available from the authors - see our Active Researchers page)

The role of insurance in organisational recovery following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes (Exec Summary)

Charlotte Brown, Erica Seville, John Vargo. April 2013, Resilient Organisations Research Report 2013/04

Outcomes of the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence for Tourism Businesses  (Exec Summary).

Caroline Orchiston, John Vargo, Erica Seville. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2012/09

Learning from Christchurch: Technical Decisions and Societal Consequences in Post-Earthquake Recovery.

Preliminary Research Findings August 2012. Josh E. Taylor, Stephanie E. Chang, Kenneth J. Elwood, Erica Seville, Dave Brunsdon. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2012/08

Resilience Tested: A year and a half of 10,000 aftershocks.

Erica Seville, Chris Hawker, Jacqui Lyttle. University of Canterbury, 2012

Shaken but not Stirred: A University's Resilience in the Face of Adversity - the 4th September 2010 Earthquake.

Erica Seville, Chris Hawker, Jacqui Lyttle. University of Canterbury, April 2011

APEC project on SME Resilience
Improving the Resilience of SMEs: policy and practice in New Zealand.

Tracy Hatton, Erica Seville, John Vargo. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2012/12

 Enhancing Organizations' Adaptive Capacity and Resilience through Effective Decision Making in the Recovery Phase.

Dean Myburgh, Chris Webb, Erica Seville. The Business Continuity and Resiliency Journal, Q4 2012, pages 3-19.

Organisational Resilience and Recovery for Canterbury Organisations after the 4 September 2010 Earthquake.

Kachali H., Stevenson J.R, Whitman Z., Seville E., Vargo J. & Wilson T. The Australasian Journal of Disaster and Trauma Studies, Volume : 2012-1.

The Recovery of Canterbury's Organisations: A comparative analysis of the 4 September 2010, 22 February and 13 June 2011 earthquakes.

Joanne Stevenson, John Vargo, Erica Seville, Hlekiwe Kachali, Amy McNaughton, Felicity Powell. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2011/04

Post-Disaster Organisational Recovery in a Central Business District Context: The 2010 & 2011 Canterbury Earthquakes.

Joanne Stevenson, Erica Seville, Hlekiwe Kachali, John Vargo, Zachary Whitman. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2011/03

Preliminary Observations of the Impacts the 22 February Christchurch Earthquake on Organisations and the Economy: A Report from the Field (22 February - 22 March 2011).

Joanne Stevenson, Hlekiwe Kachali, Zachary Whitman, Erica Seville, John Vargo, Thomas Wilson. New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering Bulletin Vol. 44, No. 2, June 2011, pp65-76.

Lifelines Performance and Management Following the 22 February 2011 Christchurch Earthquake, New Zealand: Highlights of Resilience.

Sonia Giovinazzi, Thomas Wilson, Craig Davis, Daniel Bristow, Max Gallagher, Alistair Schofield, Marlene Villemure, John Eidinger, Alex Tang. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 44, No. 4, December 2011

Preliminary Results from Organisational Resilience and Recovery Study December 2010.

Hlekiwe Kachali, Joanne Stevenson, Zach Whitman, Erica Seville, John Vargo, Tom Wilson. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2010/05

A Diagnosis of State Highway Organisations’ Decision-Making during Extreme Emergency Events.

Andre Dantas, Sonia Giovinazzi, Erica Seville, Frederico Ferreira Resilient Organisations Research Report 2010/02.

Dynamic Response and Recovery Tool for Emergency Response within State Highway Organisations in New Zealand.

Frederico Ferreira, University of Canterbury, PhD thesis 2010

Information Sharing During Emergency Response and Recovery: A framework for road organizations.

Andre Dantas, Erica Seville, Dharmista Gohil Transportation Research Record, Volume 2022/2007, pg 22-28. 

Information Sharing During Disasters: Can we do it better?

Andre Dantas, Erica Seville and Alan Nicholson. Resilient Organisations Research Report 2006/02.


Organisational recovery in urban contexts 

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