A systems approach to managing Human Resources in disaster recovery projects

Yan Chang-Richards, Suzanne Wilkinson, 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


Lack of construction resources and capacity has always presented difficult challenges to the construction industry following a major disaster. In the case of the Canterbury earthquakes that took place in 2010 and 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand, a number of factors combined to influence the post-disaster recovery environments and increase the demands for better approaches to managing human resources for reconstruction projects. By using a systems approach, this study identified the dynamics that have changed construction companies’ resourcing behaviours in relation to the employment demand and supply in the Canterbury recovery. Research findings show that the limited technical capability available nationally, lack of motivation among new entrants, combined with high turnover rate, had accounted for socially produced skills shortages in Christchurch. This shortage was further compounded by factors such as the shortage of temporary accommodation, time lags of training and a lack of information about reconstruction workloads from the recovery agencies. The study suggests that the design of policy instruments in managing human resources in Christchurch should be informed by a detailed understanding of the dynamics that mediate between policy objectives and outcomes over time. A systems approach should be applied to increase the efficiencies in resource management in the continued reconstruction.

Download full paper

Scroll to Top