Business recovery from disaster: creating an enabling environment for surviving and thriving

Tracy Haton, John Vargo, Erica Seville.
Chapter 1 in Case Studies in Disaster Recovery. Editor(s): Jane Kushma, Jean Slick, 2023, Pages 3-32,


Businesses do not survive or fail because of disasters. They survive or fail due to decisions made by business owners and managers prior to and following the disaster. These decisions may be strongly influenced both by pre-disaster institutional, social and sectoral trends, and also by policy responses enacted to assist recovery following a disaster. This chapter considers the important contextual factors impacting business decision making following a sequence of earthquakes that impacted the region of Canterbury, New Zealand in 2010/11. It suggests that this context created an enabling environment which empowered businesses and organizations to lead their own recovery through adaptive and innovative strategies. The Christchurch experience suggests that there are lessons to be learned for future disasters with regard to the importance of context and attention to the many differing areas that contribute to it.

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