California Research Bureau, California State Library


1 Response" refers to the time period immediately following a disaster when the injured are rescued, fires fought, emergency shelter and food provided, transportation corridors opened, and the like. The recovery phase follows this period, involving such activities as assessing the value of damaged buildings, and rebuilding freeways. Thisconference only addresses the response phase.

2 Sociologists do not have a commonly agreed to definition of "disaster." They also distinguish between a practitioner's definition and one that is more suitable for scientific study. See for example: T. Drabek (1994). "Disaster in Aisle 13 Revisited," in R. Dynes and K. Tierney (eds.) (1995). Disasters, Collective Behavior, and Social Organization. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Press, p. 43; and E. Quarantelli (1994). "Draft of a Sociological Disaster Research Agenda for the Future: Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Issues," presented at the World Congress of Sociology in Germany, University of Delaware Disaster Research Center, Preliminary Paper #228.

3 Narad, Richard. 1984. "MCI vs. Disaster: An Overview of Mass Casualty Response," JEMS, September, and Auf der Heide, Eric. 1989. Disaster Response: Principles and Coordination. St. Louis: C.V. Mosby Co.

4 A great deal of research has been done that describes and analyzes why and how organizations fail following a disaster. This will not be reviewed here. See: T. Drabek (1994); and T. Drabek (1986). Human System Responses to Disaster: An Inventory of Sociological Findings. New York: Springer-Verlag; Auf der Heide (1989); and W. Waugh and R. Hy (1990). Handbook of Emergency Management. New York: Greenwood Press.

5 T. Drabek (1987). "Emergent Structures," in R. Dynes, B. De Marchi, and C. Pelanda (1987). Sociology of Disasters. Milano, Italy: Franco Angeli, p. 261.

6 T. Drabek (1989), p. 140.

7 G. Koehler (1992). "A Computer Simulation of a California Casualty Collection Point Used to Respond to a Major Earthquake," Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, October-December.

8 B. Adam (1995). "Chernobyl: Implicate Order of Socio-Environmental Chaos," draft of a paper presented at International Society for the Study of Time Conference, Canada, 1995. p. 6.

9 An Emergency Operation Center typically manages the emergency response for a city, county, operational area (see foot note 4) or state. The EOC's role is to set overall priorities and to manage and coordinate resources.

10 L. Douglas Kiel (1994). Managing Chaos and Complexity in Government. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, p. 79-81.

11 S. Kellert (1993). In the Wake of Chaos. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p. 3-4.

12 U. Merry (1995). Coping with Uncertainty. Westport: Praeger, p. 12.

13 L. Douglas Kiel (1994, p. 48.

14 L. Douglas Kiel (1994, p. 50.

15 E. Jantsch (1980). The Self-Organizing Universe, New York: Pergamon Press. Jantsch discusses the self-organizing process in more detail than we will go into here.

16 R. Thom (1972). Structural Stability and Morphogenesis, Redwood City: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., p. xxvi.

17 T. Drabek (1987). p. 274.

18 See the following text for an excellent summary of the disaster research literature: T. Drabeck (1986). Human System Responses to Disaster: An Inventory of Sociological Findings. New York: Springer-Verlag. Both Drabek and Quarantelli have raised the issue of a need for an adequate theory. See: T. Drabek (1987).

19 Identifying the social psychological, organizational learning, and other mechanisms for connecting the two levelsare beyond this paper and require further research. The organizational learning literature, attribution theory, satisfying theory, diffusion studies, and other approaches might be helpful here. See: E. Quarantelli (1994).

20 Biologically, "morphogenesis" is defined as: "The totality of the process of embryological development andgrowth." R. Lincoln, G. Boxshall, and P. Clark (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 159. See also: R. Abraham (1985). On Morphodynamics. Santa Cruz: Ariel Press.

21 E. Quarantelli (1987). "What Should We Study? Questions and Suggestions for Researchers about the Concept of Disasters," International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, Vol. 5, pp. 285-310.

22 N. Tufillaro, T. Abbott, and J. Reilly (1992). An Experimental Approach to Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, Redwood City, Calif.: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., p. 1-2.

23 H. Peitgen, H. Jurgens, and D. Saupe (1992). Chaos and Fractals. New York: Springer-Verlag, p. 584-6.

24 A. Holden (1986). Chaos. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, p. 8.

25 Other researchers have found similar results using this and other chaos analysis tools for crises situations, political activity, and social systems generally. For examples see: C. Brown (1994). "Politics and the Environment: Nonlinear Instabilities Dominate," American Political Science Review, Vol. 88, No. 2, June, p. 292-303; V. DiLorenzo (1994). "Chaos Theory and Legislative Dynamics," paper presented at the Canadian Political Science Association, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, June 12-14; B. Forgues and R. Thietart (1994). "Are Crises Chaotic? Evidences from a Case Study," in L. Barton (editor) (1994). New Avenues in Risk and Crisis Management, Volume III, p. 46-55; H. Gregersen and L. Sailer (1993). "Chaos theory and Its Implications for Social Science Research," Human Relations, Vol. 46, No. 7, 1993, pp. 777-802. and P. Kronenberg (1994). "Chaos and Re-Thinking the Public Policy Process," paper presented at the Chaos and Society Conference, University du Quebec a Hull, Hull, Que, Canada, June 2, 1994.

26 See the following paper for the formulae: H. Priesmeyer, and E. Cole (1995). "Nonlinear Analysis of Disaster Response Data," presented at the "What Disaster Response Management Can Learn From Chaos Theory" Conference, California Research Bureau, May 18-19, 1995. I will draw heavily from this paper in the following discussion.

27 The data were provided by Kreps and Bosworth. They extracted data from 1,062 tape recorded and transcribed interviews of individuals involved in disaster response: 250 from one earthquake, 198 from two hurricanes, 330 from six tornadoes, and 284 interviews from six floods. See: S. Bosworth, and G. Kreps (1986). "Structure as Process: Organization and Role," American Sociological Review, Vol. 51, pp. 699-716.

28 Letter to Gus Koehler from Richard Priesmeyer, June 26, 1995. For a detailed discussion of this procedure see: H. Priesmeyer, and W. Andrews (1994). "Logistic Regression: Forecasting with Chaos Theory," School of Business Administration, St. Mary's University, San Antonio, Texas.

29 More exactly: "When the equation is fitted to the first 24 hours of disaster response activity for this wide range of events it reveals a value of k of 3.66 with an initial value of X of .10. It also provides an F value of 6.75 which is significant at the 95 percent confidence level." H. Priesmeyer, and E. Cole (1995), p. 5.

30 T. Drabek (1989). "Strategies Used by Emergency Managers to Maintain Organizational Integrity," Environmental Auditor, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 139-152; T. Drabek (1990). Emergency Management: Strategies for Maintaining Organizational Integrity. New York: Springer-Verlag.

31 Drabek has developed a typology of emergent organizations, has defined what a theory of emergent structures might look like, and reviews the literature. His work could be used to test and refine the suggestions made in this paper. T. Drabek (1987).

32 Some values along this line are more attractive than others. It will take an organization more time to settle down into a single configuration at the less attractive points. H. Peitgen,, 1992, p. 598.

33 L. Douglas Kiel (1995). "Chaos Theory and Disaster Response Management: Lessons for Managing Periods of Extreme Instability," presented at the "What Disaster Response Management Can Learn From Chaos Theory," a conference sponsored by the California Research Bureau, May 18-19, 1995, p. 3.

34 H. Peitgen,, (1992) Ibid. p. 588.

35 The exact point where the single line bifurcates is called a repeller; it cannot be occupied as a final state, only one of two attractor states are possible. H. Peitgen, p. 604-610.

36 L. Douglas Kiel (1994).

37 G. Koehler (1995). "Fractals and Path Dependent Processes: A Theoretical Approach for Characterizing Emergency Medical Responses to Major Disasters," Proceedings of the Society for Chaos Theory in Psychology; Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p.3.

38 E. Jantsch and C. Waddington (Editors) (1976). Evolution and Consciousness: Human Systems in Transition. Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley, p. 39.

3939 J. Briggs, and F. Peat (1989). The Turbulent Mirror. New York: Harper and Row, p. 62.

40 L. Douglas Kiel, Ibid., p.9.

41 H. Priesmeyer, and E. Cole (1995, p.5.

42 S. Kaufman (1993). The Origins of Order. New York: Oxford University Press, 218-220. Comfort uses Kaufman's methodology to investigate the formation of interagency disaster response networks. Kaufman points out that this methodology is useful for investigating percolation (p. 174).

43 L. Douglas Kiel (1989). "Nonequilibrium Theory and Its Implications for Public Administration," Public Administration Review, November-December, p. 545.

44 S. Kaufman, p. 218-220; and S. Goerner. Chaos and the Evolving Ecological Universe. Longhorne, Penn.: Gordon and Breach, 1994.

45 G. Kreps. (1989). Social Structure and Disaster. Newark: University of Delaware Press; and G. Kerps and S. Bosworth (1994). Organizing, Role Inactment, and Disaster. Newark: University of Deleware Press.

46 Nonaka, I. "Creating Organizational Order Out of Chaos: Self-Renewal in Japanese Firms." California Management Review, Spring 1988, 38, 57-73, as cited by L. Douglas Kiel (1995).

47 M. Waldrop (1992). Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos. New York: Simon and Schuster.

48 B. Arthur, Y. Krmoliev, and Y. Kaniovski (1987). "Path-Dependent Processes and the Emergency of Macro-Structure," European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 30; and B. Arthur (1990). "Positive Feedback in the Economy." Scientific American, February.

49 Disasters and the definition of social space was not examined at the conference. This dimension should be included in future disaster research. See: E. Quarantelli (1994).

50 B. Adam (1990). Time and Social Theory. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, p. 42.

51 Disasters also occur within particular historical and cultural contexts. For example, highly technological societies will probably have a different mix of disasters than more traditional societies, respond differently, and evaluate the results differently. These issues are not addressed in this paper even though the concepts of social time and social space imply an historical context. See: E. Quarantelli (1994). "Draft of a Sociological Research Agenda for the Future: Theoretical, Methodological and Empirical Issues," presented at the World Congress of Sociology inGermany, 1994, University of Delaware Disaster Research Center, preliminary paper #228, p. 11.

52 V. Evans (1995). "Disaster Responders Perception of Time." University of Nevada, Las Vegas, p. 4.

53 V. Evans (1995), p. 4.

54 S. Macey (1994). Encyclopedia of Time. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., p. 560-564.

55 V. Evans (1995), p. 10.

56 E. Schein (1985). Organizational Culture and Leadership. New York: Jossey-Bass, p. 94.

57 E. Schein (1985), p. 95.

58 G. Koehler, G. Kress, J. Springer (1985). "Somatic Organizational Learning." A paper presented at the American Political Science Association Convention, new Orleans, Louisiana, August, 1985. The theory of organizational change presented in this paper may be useful for understanding the phenomena discussed here.

59 S. Macey (1994), p. 562-563.

60 G. Kress, G. Koehler, and F. Springer (1981). "Policy Drift: An Evaluation of the California Business Enterprise Program," in D. Palumbo and M. Harder (1981). Implementing Public Policy. Toronto: Lexington Books.

61 As cited by Evans (1995), p. 18.

62 V. Evans (1995), p. 18.

63 V. Evans (1995), p. 19.

64 Nicolis and Prigogine believe that how individuals in a social system anticipate the future and its relationships to past experiences as significant variables for self-organization in human systems. G. Nicholis and I. Prigogine (1989). Exploring Complexity. New York: W. Freeman, p. 238.

65 G. Koehler (1995), p. 9; and L. Comfort (1995). "Self Organization in Disaster Response: Global Strategies to Support Local Action," prepared for presentation at the "What Disaster Response Management Can Learn From Chaos Theory," a conference sponsored by the California Research Bureau, May 18-19, 1995, and the Workshop on "The United Nations, Multilateralism, and Catastrophes," Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley, November 9-10, 1995.

66 A similar approach has been used to analyze the growth of cities, including how their components connect over time. See: I. Peterson, "The Shapes of Cities: Mapping out fractal models of urban growth." Science News, Vol. 149, January 6, 1996, p. 8-9.

67 Peitgen, et. al. (1992), p. 463.

68 G. Koehler (1995), p.5. The degree of connectivity and its relationship to the percolation threshold may vary with the geographic shape of the disaster area. See: D. Stauffer and A. Aharony (1991). Introduction to PercolationTheory. London: Taylor and Francis, p. 17.

69 Kauffman uses random graphs to make the same point. "As the ratio of [connections] to [the number of points being connected] passes the 0.5 mark, all of a sudden most of the clusters have become cross-connected into one giant structure." (page 56). S. Kauffman (1995) At Home in the Universe. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 56-57.

70 T. Drabek (1987), p. 284.

71 L. Comfort (1995), p. 11.

72 S. Kauffman (1995), p. 81.

73 L. Comfort (1995), p. 31.

74 L. Comfort (1995), p. 32.

75 Such differences between the Los Angeles police department, sheriffs department, and the fire services may have slowed the response to the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Disturbance. W. Webster (1992). The City in Crisis. Office of the Special Advisor to the Board of Police Commissioners City of Los Angeles, October 21.

76 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 190.

77 H. Priesmeyer, and E. Cole (1995), p.6.

78 See the following article for an overview of microcomputer use during disasters: T. Drabek, "Microcomputers and Disaster Response", Disasters, Vol. 15, No. 2.

79 H. Priesmeyer, and E. Cole (1995), p. 7.

80 H. Priesmeyer (1992). Organizations and Chaos: Defining the Methods of Nonlinear Management, Westport, Conn.: Quorum Books.

81 T. Cartwright (1991). "Planning and Chaos Theory," APA Journal, Winter, p. 53.

82 For an example of such a model that runs off a PC see: G. Koehler (1992). The bibliography includes additional examples. Also see: A. Benini (1993). "Simulation of the Effectiveness of Protection and Assistance for Victims of Armed Conflict (Sepavac): An Example from Mali, West Africa," Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 1, No. 4, 1993.

83 H. Peitgen,, (1992), p. 590.

84 L. Douglas Kiel (1995), p. 2.

85 L. Douglas Kiel (1994).

86 L. Comfort (1994). "Self Organization in Complex Systems," Journal of Public Administration Research andTheory, Vol. 4, No. 3, 393-410.

87 K. Weick (1985). "Sources of Order in Underorganized Systems: Themes in Recent Organizational Theory," in Y. Lincoln (1985). Organizational Theory and Inquiry. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, p.128.

88 E. Jantsch (1980), p. 11.

89 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p.22.

90 E. Jantsch (1980), p. 8.

91 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p.23.

92 L. Douglas Kiel, citing: M. Hammer and J. Champy (1993). Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto forBusiness Revolution. New York: Harper Collings.

93 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p.26.

94 D. Loye (1995). "How Predictable is the Future? The Conflict Between Traditional Chaos Theory and the Psychology of Prediction, and the Challenge of Chaos Psychology," in R. Robertson and A. Combs (1995). Chaos Theory in Psychology and the Life Sciences. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, p. 350.

95 Forgues and R. Thietart (1994). "Are Crises Chaotic? Evidences from a Case Study," in L. Barton (editor) (1994). New Avenues in Risk and Crisis Management, Volume III, p. 52.

96 The EMS response during Hurricane Andrew used such a group to deliver medical supplies to clinics. The California Department of Social Services assembled a similar group to restore food delivery systems in South Central Los Angeles following the Los Angeles Civil Disturbance in 1992.

97 D. Hershey, V. Patel, and J., Hahn (1990). "Speculation on the Relationship Between Organizational Structure,Entropy, and Organizational Function." Systems Research, Vol. 7, No. 3, 207-208.

98 L. Comfort (1994). "Risk and Resilience: Inter-Organizational Learning Following the Northridge Earthquake of 1 January 1994," Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Vol. 2, Number 3, September, p. 159.

99 L. Comfort (1994), p. 158.

100 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 202.

101 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 203.

102 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 203.

103 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 203.

104 R. Stacey (1992). Managing the Unknowable: Strategic Boundaries Between Order and Chaos in Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, p.13-14.

105 T. Cartwright (1991), p. 54.

106 L. Douglas Kiel (1994), p. 218.

107 L. Douglas Kiel (1989), p. 549.

108 R. Stacey (1992), p.13-14.

109 R. Stacey (1992), p.16.

110 For example, see: D. Rasmussen, and E. Mosekilde, (1988). "Bifurcations and Chaos in a Generic Management Model," European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 35, April, p. 80-88; and P. Malasks and T. Kinnunen, " A Model of Management Goal Setting and its Dissipative Structure," European Journal of Operational Research, Vol. 25, April, pp. 75-84.

111 See the following text. The author raises several criticisms of flexibility in business organizations which seem to apply here as well. H. Kaufman (1985). Time, Chance, and Organizations, Chatham, New Jersey: Chatham House Publishers, p. 73.

112 H. Kaufman (1985), p. 68-76.

113 N. Oreskes, K. Shrader-Frechette, and K. Belitz (1994). "Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences," Science, Vol. 263, No. 5147,

February 4.


114 L. Comfort (1995), p. 33.

115 Operational Area is defined as: "An intermediate level of the state emergency services organization consisting of a county and all political subdivisions within the county area. "Standardized Emergency Management Systems (SEMS) Telecourse", The Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, April 13, 1995, p. 63.

116 "Standardized Emergency Management Systems (SEMS) Telecourse", p. 62.

117"Standardized Emergency Management Systems (SEMS) Telecourse", p. 65-71.

118 Schutz and Luckmann shed light on this phenomena with the observation that we are "wide-awake"--a state that can be highly pleasurable--when full attention is focused on one thing. When we are concentrating on making something happen our wide-awakeness regulates consciousness by controlling the tension between memory of past experiences and anticipation of future experiences (Schutz 1989).

119 Conducted in 1978-80 by the Division of Life-styles Research in the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences. Directed by Professor Andrej Sicinski.

120 For example, members of the Workers Defense Committee, established in 1976, had been attacked and jailed.

121 Author's note - portions of this paper are excerpted from my book, Managing Chaos and complexity; A New

Paradigm for Managing Change,Innovation, and Organizational Renewal. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass) 1994.