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Interorganizational Coordination in Dynamic Context: Networks in Emergency Response Management1



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1 Earlier version of this paper presented at the NAACSOS 2003 Conference in Pittsburgh, PA
2 I wish to thank Dr. Louise K. Comfort for her helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper. I also thank Michael
Carrigan and Kilkon Ko in helping me conducting the content analysis of The New York Times reports and the FEMA
situation reports for this study. Further, I thank public managers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Department of Health and Human Services, and managers of the nonprofit
organizations in New York City who gave their time and thoughtful observations to this research.
CONNECTIONS 26(2): 9-10
© 2005 INSNA
Interorganizational Coordination in Dynamic
Context: Networks in Emergency Response
Naim Kapucu, Ph.D.2
Department of Public Administration, University of Central Florida
This paper addresses the inter-organizational network in response to an extreme event.
Specifically, this paper analyzes interactions among public, private, and nonprofit organ-
izations that evolved in response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The research
uses a theoretical framework primarily drawn from dynamic network theory and complex
adaptive systems theory. The study assumes that the increased efficiency that would likely
accrue in mitigation and response to disaster if agencies learned to collaborate more
productively. Organizational analysis techniques were used to identify the major organ-
izations that participated in the response system. The research found that effective response
and recovery require well-coordinated interorganizational networks and trust between
government agencies at all levels and between the public and private sectors.
Public management increasingly takes place in settings of networked actors who necessarily rely on
each other. Building networks of effective action is particularly difficult in dynamic environments.
Yet, current administrative theorists devote relatively little attention to acting effectively in such
situations. The September 11 attacks and their aftermath, along with other major disaster events,
revealed much about institutional responses and collective behavior in extreme disaster conditions,
underscoring what is already known about the social processes that characterize such events, while at
the same time highlighting aspects of disasters that the literature has yet to explore fully.
In drawing lessons from the World Trade Center terrorist attacks in New York City, while the
response activities undertaken by official emergency agencies were crucial, those activities constituted
only part of the picture. Equally significant was the manner in which those agencies interacted with
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
and obtained support from non-crisis organizations. It has long been recognized that disasters
represent occasions in which the boundaries between organizational and collective behavior are
blurred (Comfort, 1999). This paper discuses how to identify sets of structurally key players,
particularly in the context of networks of organizations in response to September 11, 2001. Specifi-
cally, this paper examines the interactions among organizations that evolved in response to the
September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City.
The paper addresses the following questions: How did interorganizational coordination among the
organizations evolved in response to the extreme event? What primary organizations were involved in
response to the attack? What were the primary nodes of interaction among the organizations in their
response to the attack? This study assumes that extreme events will lead to greater density of commu-
nication among organizations and less centralized networks. As organizations increase their interac-
tions, they share resources and information. As organizations from different sectors shares informa-
tion and resources, victims in impacted areas will be served better as a result of this collaboration.
The case study and descriptive research methods were used in conducting this research (Yin, 1994).
The case study uses the data from the situation reports from the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) and interviews with selected public and nonprofit managers involved in response to
September 11. Data collected through FEMA situation reports and interviews were used to develop a
list of organizations that participated in response operations performed by public, nonprofit, and
private organizations. Situation reports prepared by the Federal Emergency Management Agency
(FEMA, 2001) were used as the official account of organizational operations following the September
11 attacks. This analysis illustrates patterns of communication and information flows among actors.
The actual pattern of interaction reported by the organizations is compared with the designated
responsibilities of the public organizations under the Federal Response Plan (FEMA, 1999). This
comparison illustrates the differences between actual performance and designated roles in the Federal
Response Plan.
I identified all the organizations that participated regardless of any interaction from the FEMA
situation reports. Then, for the network analysis purposes, I identified only the reciprocal organiza-
tional interactions. With these interacting organizations I constructed the matrix for network
analysis. I also reduced the number of organizations by aggregation to construct a manageable
network matrix. The goal was to choose a level of “granularity” that corresponds to the problem at
hand. As in a traditional sociogram, one can aggregate constituents into larger units, if that proven
useful (Pentland, 1999). Second, based on identified actors from the content analysis of the FEMA
situation reports, I used the stratified random sampling method to construct a sample of organizations
that were actively involved in the response system. Third, semi-structured interviews (43) with the
staff, managers, and director of the participant organizations were conducted. Interviews helped to
clarify and expand some of the issues already discovered in the content analyses with regard to
interorganizational networks in response to the attack. The network data collected from my interviews
and the FEMA situation reports were analyzed using the UCINET 6.0 social network analysis
In the network analysis, we are always interested in how an actor is embedded within a structure and
how the structure emerges from the micro-relations between individual parts. The other important
factor for the design of network data has to do with what ties or relations are to be measured for the
selected nodes (Scott, 2000). The other fundamental properties of a social network have to do with
how connected the actors are to one another. Networks that have few or weak connections, or where
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 11
some actors are connected only by pathways of great length may display slow response to stimuli.
Networks that have more and stronger connections with shorter paths among actors may be more
robust and more able to respond quickly and effectively. Measuring the number and lengths of
pathways among the actors in a network allow us to index these important tendencies of whole
network (Hanneman, 2001; Wasserman and Faust, 1994). Indeed, most of the basic measures of
networks, measures of centrality, and measures of network groupings and substructures are based on
looking at the numbers and lengths of pathways among actors are used for the analysis of the collected
data. This paper uses the standard network centrality measures of degree, closeness, betweenness and
flow betweenness applied to groups and classes (Everett & Borgatti, 1999). Beside the group centrality,
I also measured cliques, subgroups, similarity and structural equivalence.
The research uses a theoretical framework primarily drawn from dynamic network theory and
complex adaptive systems theory (Scott, 2000; Axelrod and Cohen, 1999; Comfort, 1999; Carley, 1999;
Holland, 1995; Wasserman and Faust, 1994; Alter & Hage, 1993; Nohria & Eccless, 1992). In complex
and turbulent environments, organizations frequently develop formal or informal relationships in
order to work together to pursue shared goals, address common concerns, and/or attain mutually
beneficial ends. In recent years, such interorganizational collaboration has become a prominent
aspect of the functioning of many different types of organizations. The number and significance of
collaborative forms of organizing, including interorganizational teams, partnerships, alliances, and
networks, have increased tremendously. The value of effective collaborative relationships as well as the
complexities and challenges they present have been recognized by many researchers, and they
continue to be a frequent subject of scholarly and practitioner-oriented literature (e.g., Linden, 2002;
Powell, 1990; Gray, 1989).
Many researchers have noted that network organizations reflect a qualitatively different form of
governance structure than the bureaucratic hierarchies they are beginning to replace (O’Toole, 1997;
Powell, 1990). In such a environment, understanding the dynamics of the interorganizational net-
works and the patterns of interaction have become urgent matters both for policy makers and those
who seek to understand the policy making process and implementation (Gidron et al, 1992).
In this paper, the term network is used to describe multiple-organizational relations involving
multiple nodes of interactions. A network is group of individuals or organizations who, on a voluntary
basis, exchange information and undertake joint activities and who organize themselves in such a way
that their individual autonomy remains intact. In this definition important points are that the rela-
tionship must be voluntary, that these are mutual or reciprocal activities, and that belonging to the
network does not affect autonomy and independence of the members.
A large body of theory and research about inter-organizational networks now exists to explain how
these relationships emerge, sustain, and create value for the whole society. A particularly interesting
generic type of network involves complex production relationships that benefit from being able to
form and dissolve quickly. The participants therefore wish to protect themselves against opportunistic
exploitation by their partners without having to suffer the delays and costs of formal contracting. This
means that there is some element of trust in the relationship so that post-transaction adjustments to
meet the parties’ needs and interests can be quickly addressed with minimal inter-personal and inter-
organizational resistance (Bardach, 1998).
Public administration scholar Harland Cleveland predicted in 1972 that organizations are moving
toward a more horizontal style of management in which leadership is shared and decisions are often
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
made on the basis of expertise rather than positions. “The organizations that get things done will no
longer be hierarchical pyramids … they will be systems – interlaced webs of tension in control is loose,
power diffused (Cleveland, 1972, p. 13).
Ackoff (1974) points out that many important current problems are “messes” that actually involve sets
of interconnected problems. The multifaceted nature of these complex problems makes them
extremely difficult to conceptualize and analyze and thus immune to simple solutions (Chisholm,
1998). This interdependence and complexity often require extensive collaboration among different
types and various levels of organizations. Forming and developing inter-organizational networks
represents a response to this interdependence complexity.
Brinton Milward (1996) uses the “hollow state” to characterize what he regards as the increasingly
networked character of public management. Despite the evidence that networks are very important
for public administration, much of the discussion of this subject has been vague (Wamsley et al., 1990;
Provan and Milward, 2001). Helpful starts have been made in other fields. In particular, sociologists
and public choice specialists have developed rich conceptualizations regarding networks (Miller, 1994;
Cook and Whitmeyer, 1992; Ostrom, 1990). Public, nonprofit, and private sector resources may blend
in a variety of ways. These formats permit the mutual leveraging of resources and the blending of
public, nonprofit, and private attributes in ways that might not be possible in more traditional
structural arrangements. This governance perspective is connected to the concern about social capital
and the social underpinnings necessary to effective collaboration.
Networks in the field of public administration and organization theory are primarily based on the
organizations with clearly defined boundaries (Milward, 1996; Chisholm, 1998; Alter and Hage, 1993).
The effect of relations in organizations with permeable boundaries may be different. Modern organ-
izational environments are becoming more complex at an increasing rate (Weick, 2001; Emery and
Trist, 1965; quoted in Scott, 2001; Kauffman, 1993), largely through technical change (Simon, 1996).
This means that uncertainty also increases, and the ratio of externally to internally induced changes
also is increasing. There are instances where changing governance structures and technical changes
may actually reduce uncertainty (Comfort, 1999; Weick, 2001). The interactions of organizations in
a large system can generate greater complexity then the organizations themselves. Moreover,
organizations tend to move toward higher levels of complexity, largely through networks. Organiza-
tions must balance differentiation and coordination to successfully adapt to the rising environmental
complexity. Organizations also must determine the scope of their activities and degree of vertical
integration decisions. Depending on one’s theoretical perspective, these balancing conflicts are either
seen as inefficiencies (rational system) or necessary parts of the negotiation process (natural system)
(Scott, 2001).
Social network analysis is a well-developed and fast-growing area of organizational sociology, and it
provides tools and concepts for analyzing organizations as networks (Wasserman and Faust, 1994).
A meta-matrix, developed by Kathleen Carley (2002), represents a network of interactions that can be
analyzed using the same graph-theoretic techniques that have been applied to networks of individuals
and other entities. Meta-matrix analysis is a useful method in analyzing the structure of interorganiza-
tional response.
The dynamics of learning and adaptation, central to the complexities of an ecological system, are
increasingly used as an analogy to the collaborative relations between sectors in network based systems
of governance. Resilient social systems are characterized by reduced failure, measured in terms of lives
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 13
lost, damage, and negative social and economic impacts, and reduced time to recovery – that is, more
rapid restoration of the social systems and institutions to their normal, pre-disaster levels of function-
ing. Aaron Wildawsky (1971, p. 77) describes resilience as “the capacity to cope with unexpected
dangers after they have become manifest, learning to bounce back.” The Resilience Multidisciplinary
Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) has identified four general properties that can
be applied to all systems and to the elements that comprise systems: robustness (ability to withstand
the forces generated by a hazard agent without loss or significant deterioration of function; resource-
fulness (capacity to apply material, informational, and human resources to remedy disruptions when
they occur); redundancy (the extent to which elements, systems, or other units of analysis exist that
are capable of satisfying the performance requirements of a social unit in the event of loss or
disruption that threaten functionality); and rapidity (the ability to contain loses and restore system or
other units in a timely manner). Organizations can contribute to resilience in a society by incorpora-
tion other emergency response organizations and by integrating volunteers into emergency operations
as appropriate.
Meta Matrix People / Agents Knowledge Resources Tasks Organizations
People / Agents
Who knows
whom Structure
Who knows what
Who has
what resource
Who does what
Work Network
Who works
What informs
Skills Network
What knowledge
is needed to use
what resource
Needs Network
What is needed
to do that task
What knowledge
is where
What resources
can be substituted
for which
What resources
are needed
to do that task
What resources
are where
Tasks Relation
Which task must
be done before
What tasks are
done where
works with witch
Source: Adapted from Kateen M. Carley 2002.
Figure 1. Meta Matrix
Extreme events are occurrences that are notable, rare, unique, and profound, in terms of their
impacts, effects, or outcomes. When extreme events occur at the interface between natural, social and
human systems, they are often called “disasters” (Red Cross, 2001). Quarantelli and Dynes (1977)
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
define disaster as the disruption to society after the “event.” Everybody is affected in extreme events
and individuals and single organizations cannot prevent the harm caused by the event. In extreme
events standard procedures cannot be followed and they require dynamic system to adapt to
unanticipated and rapidly changing conditions. The September 11 2001 terrorist attack is an example
of an extreme event with significant impact upon humanity. Extreme events trigger greater density of
communication and interaction among organizations that stimulates collective action. A critical
aspect of this process is the formation of new and or stronger networks among multi-sector organiza-
1. Interorganizational networks in emergencies can play an important role in facilitating
the flow of information across organizational boundaries. Following are the principal
pathways through which social networks enhance performance of organizational
2. Social networks increase interaction among organizations that can lead to development
of trust which reduce transaction costs (Coleman, 1990),
3. Social networks spread risk by providing individual members with sources of support
during times of trouble, and allow the group as a whole to engage in overall higher levels
of risk-taking (Fukuyama, 1995),
4. Social networks facilitate the rapid dissemination of information among members and
reduce the asymmetries of information that can otherwise discourage profitable transac-
5. Social capital improves access to resources among network members,
6. Social networks allow members to solve collective action problems more easily with less
fear of defection and free riding (Ostrom, 1990)
The capacity of a society to understand and manage extreme events depends on its ability to
understand, anticipate, prepare for, and respond to them (Comfort, 1999). Moreover, increasing
organizational and technological interconnectedness may create more possibilities of multiorganiza-
tional partnerships for the surge of an extreme event. The WTC disaster illustrates how in disaster
settings high levels of cooperation and collaboration among organizational and community actors can
co-exist. Communities responding to disasters are seen as coping collectively with shared pain, loss,
and disruption and as temporarily suspending ongoing conflicts and disagreements in the interest of
meeting urgent needs and beginning the recovery process. Trustworthiness and social capital can,
especially, play an important role in extreme events within which there is no clear policy or guidelines
available to the participant organizations and individuals (Axelrod and Cohen, 1999).
Under the Federal Response Plan (FEMA, 1999), eight federal agencies in addition to FEMA play lead
roles in disaster operations, with 25 federal agencies assigned responsibilities under twelve specified
emergency support functions. The lead agencies include the Departments of Transportation (DOT),
National Communications Service (NCS), Defense (DOD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human
Services (HHS), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),
and the General Accounting Office (GAO). Two departments have dual emergency support
functions. The USDA has the primary support function for firefighting, carried out by its sub-unit,
the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), as well as for food. FEMA is responsible for information management,
as well as urban-search-and-rescue operations. The American Red Cross (ARC) is designated as the
lead agency for mass care (Figure 2).
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 15
Immediately after the attack, an intensive coordinated effort was begun by federal, state, and city
government, along with volunteer agencies, in the search, rescue, recovery, and identification of the
victims. Extensive assistance was directed toward the needs of victims and their families. While the
physical damage was concentrated in a relatively small area, the economic and social effects were
pervasive citywide. The pervasive threat of the attack created a situation of shared risk, that is, the risk
of the attack is shared by all members of society. This condition of shared risk offers an important
alternative perspective on response operations for extreme events. As the risk is shared, so is the
responsibility for assessing and responding to that threat (Comfort, 1999). Recognition of shared
responsibility immediately broadens the task of confronting the threat with organizations outside the
public sector. Individuals, private and nonprofit organizations become resources for this collective
response operation (Kapucu & Comfort, 2002).
Coordinating the activities of non-crisis organizations is a complex and difficult task. Public
managers are reluctant to rely upon nonprofit voluntary organizations during extreme events.
“Because they distrust the intentions of the volunteers, lack confidence in the volunteers skills and
resources, fear that volunteer may endanger themselves or others, are concerned that volunteer may
get into way of professional responders, and fear that there may be legal liability for volunteers’
actions” (Waugh, 2000; p. 47). As noted in Waugh (2000) that emergency management is the
quintessential government role. FEMA is the lead federal agency for responding to disasters and may
link with nonprofit organizations. According to FEMA regulations, in the event of a residentially
declared disaster or emergency, such as 9/11, FEMA is required to coordinate relief and assistance
activities of federal, state, and local governments; the American Red Cross; the Salvation Army; as well
as other voluntary relief organizations that agree to operate under FEMA’s direction. Disaster
response and recovery roles cross-cut 28 Federal agencies and the Red Cross, which participates with
FEMA in disaster operations guided by the Federal Response Plan (1999).
In this section of the paper, I measure degree, closeness, betweenness, and flow betweenness centrality
and clique and sub-groups (n-clique, c-clans, k-plexes). There are many measures of actor position
and overall network structure that are based on whether there are pathways between actors, the length
of the shortest pathway between two actors, and the numbers of pathways between actors. I employed
UCINET (Version 6.0) for the network analysis of the data. UCINET is a comprehensive program for
the analysis of social networks and other proximity data. The program contains several network
analytic routines and general statistical and multivariate analysis tools.
Size of the network is critical to the structure of organizational interactions because of the limited
resources and capacities that each organization has for building and maintaining networks. Usually,
the size of a network is indexed simply by counting the number of nodes. In any network there are
(k * k-1) unique ordered pairs of actors, where k is the number of actors. It follows from this that the
range of logically possible social structures increases (complexity) exponentially with size. If the size
of the network increases, the complexity of the relationships also increases.
The graph from the Federal Response Plan (FRP) is represented in Figure 2 below. We can perceive
a number of things in simply looking at the graph. There are a limited number of actors (28), and all
of them are connected very well in a very orderly manner as we would not expect from any complex
organizational networks. There appear to be some differences among the actors in how connected
they are (compare actors HUD and USDA, for example). If we look closely, we can see that some
actor’s connections are likely to be reciprocated (that is, if A shares information with B, B also shares
information with A) but some other actors are more likely to be senders than receivers of information.
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
Figure 2. Networks in FEMA Emergency Response Plan
As a result of the variation in how connected organizations are, and whether the ties are reciprocated,
some actors may be at quite some “distance” from other actors. There appear to be groups of actors
who differ in this regard. For example, FEMA, HHS, USDA, ARC, and DOT that seem to be in the
center of the action while HUD, DOC, and TVA, seem to be more peripheral.
The graph from the FEMA situation reports is presented in Figure 3 below. We perceive a number of
things by simply looking at the graph as well. There are a limited number of actors here (41), and all
of them are “connected.” But, clearly not every possible connection is present, and there are
“structural holes.” There appear to be some differences among the actors in how connected they are
as usual. If we compare FEMA and NYCEMO with HUD and GSA for example, we can easily see the
difference. FEMA and NYCEMO are in the center of the activities. On the other hand, HUD and GSA
are not very central or well connected to other organizations. If we look closely, we can see that some
actor’s connections are likely to be reciprocated in this network but some others are not. FEMA,
NYCEMO, NYC government and mayor, and HHS seem to be in the center of the action; HUD, DOJ,
OSHA, FAA seem to be more peripheral in the network.
Findings from content analysis of the FEMA situation reports indicate that interactions were limited
and occurred primarily between organizations of similar types. For example, public organizations
tended to interact most frequently with other public organizations from the same jurisdiction; private
organizations with other private organizations; nonprofit organizations with other nonprofit
organizations. Interactions were infrequently reported across jurisdictional lines.
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 17
Figure 3. Organizational Network -FEMA Situation reports
Group Centrality: Major Players
With larger populations or more connections, however, graphs may not be very helpful. Looking at
a graph can give a good intuitive sense of what is going on, but our descriptions of what we see are
imprecise. To get more precise, and to use computers to apply algorithms to calculate mathematical
measures of graph properties, it is necessary to work with the adjacency matrix and more complicated
calculations instead of the graph.
One of the methods used to understand networks and their participants is to evaluate the location of
actors in the network. Measuring the network location is finding the centrality of an actor. These
measures help determine the importance of a node in the network. I use centrality measures as a basic
tool for identifying key organizations in the response system network (Everett & Borgatti, 1999). The
centrality approaches (degree, closeness, and betweenness) describe the locations of individual
organization in terms of how close they are to the center of the action in a network.
Group degree centrality is defined as the number of non-group nodes that are connected to group
members (Everett & Borgatti, 1999). Actors who have more ties to other actors may have access to,
and be able to call on, more of the resources of the network as a whole. UCINET is used to do the
counting, and some additional calculations and standardizations that were suggested by Linton
Freeman (1979).
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
Table 1. Freeman’s Degree Centrality Measures
Degree NrmDegree
NY City Govt/ Mayor
Nonprofit Orgs
U.S. Military Armed Forces
NY State Govt
Private Orgs
US Congress
Freeman’s degree centrality measures show that FEMA (actor #2) and New York City Govern-
ment/Mayor (actor #34) have the greatest degree, and can be regarded as the most influential in the
response operation. Nonprofit Organizations (actor #41) and the US Military and Armed Forces
(actor #13) are followed by New York State Government (actor #27). The similarity between the two
results, Freeman’s degree centrality measures and visual representation of the data in graph, can easily
be captured. That other organizations share information with these five would seem to indicate a
desire on the part of others to participate in network in response operations.
The following is the result from the degree group centrality calculated by UCINET for the optimal
groups in network (Table 2). FEMA, HHS, New York City Government, American Red Cross,
USACE, and nonprofit organizations were identified again as central organizations in the network.
Table 2. Degree Group Centrality
Observed # reached=41.000 (100.0%)
Group Members:
Observed no. reached = 30.000 (88.2%)
Group Members:
27 NY State Government
28 CT Dpt of Health
40 ARC
41 Nonprofit Orgs
6 NYC Govt/mayor
7 Nonprofit Orgs
8 NY & NJ Port Authority
14 City Harvest, NY
18 USDA Forest Service
20 Salvation Army
21 Southern Baptist Kitchens
24 Catholic Charities of NY
Source: FEMA Situation Reports Source: Interviews
Closeness Centrality
Degree centrality measures might be criticized because they only take into account the immediate ties
that an actor has, rather than indirect ties to all others. One actor might be tied to a large number of
others, but these others might be rather disconnected from the network as a whole. In this case, the
actor could be quite central, but only in a local neighborhood (Wasserman and Faust, 1994). However,
closeness centrality emphasizes the distance of an actor to all others in the network by focusing on the
geodesic distance from each actor to all others. The sum of these geodesic distances for each actor is
the “farness” of the actor from all others. We can convert this into a measure of nearness or closeness
centrality by taking the reciprocal (one divided by the farness) and normalizing it relative to the most
central actor. Here are the UCINET results for closeness:
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 19
Table 3. Closeness using FEMA situation reports data
Fairness nCloseness
U.S. Military Armed Forces
NY City Govt/ Mayor
NY State Govt
NJ Dpt of Health
Actor #2 (FEMA) is the closest, or most central, actor using this method, because the sum of FEMA’s
geodesic distances to other actors (a total of 41) is the least. Four other actors US Military Armed
Forces – USACE (actor #13), New York City Government/Mayor (actor #34), Health and Human
Services (actor # 3), and New York City Emergency Management Office (actor #35) are nearly as close
and thus are highly central organizations, HUD (actor #16) and the Department of Transportation
(DOT) (actor #6), on the other hand, have the greatest farness.
Betweenness Centrality
Suppose that FEMA wants to exchange resources and information and work with NYCEMO. FEMA
must go through an intermediate agency, NYC Government/Mayor for example. According to the
strict rules of bureaucratic hierarchy, FEMA must forward the request through another governmental
agency. The intermediate agency could delay the request, or even prevent the request from getting
through. This gives a coordinating position to the organization who lie “between” the two organiza-
tions with respect to others. FEMA might use other agencies or channels to work with NYCEMO.
Having more than one channel makes FEMA less dependent, a more central, and as more independ-
ent actor. Betweenness centrality views an actor as being in a favored position to the extent that the
actor falls on the geodesic paths between other pairs of actors in the network. UCINET, it is easy to
locate the geodesic paths between all pairs of actors, and to count up how frequently each actor falls
in each of these pathways. The results from UCINET are:
Table 4. Betweenness
Betweenness nBetweenness
NY City Govt/ Mayor
U.S. Military Armed Forces
NY State Govt
Nonprofit Orgs
Private Orgs
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
It can be seen that there is a great deal of variation in actor betweenness. FEMA (actor #2) andNY City
Government/Mayor (actor #34) appear to be relatively a good bit more central than others by this
Flow Betweenness: Dynamics of Interorganizational Networks
The betweenness centrality measure I examined above characterizes actors as having positional
advantage to the extent that they fall on the shortest pathway between other pairs of actors. The idea
is that actors who are “between” other actors, and on whom other actors must depend to conduct
exchanges, will be able to translate this central intermediary role into power.
If the two actors want to have a network relationship, but the geodesic path between them is blocked
by an unwilling organization, and if there is another pathway, the two actors are likely to use it, even
if it is longer and less efficient. The flow approach to centrality expands the notion of betweenness
centrality. It assumes that actors will use all pathways that connect them to others proportionally to
the length of the pathways. Betweenness is measured by the proportion of the entire flow between two
actors that occurs on paths which connect them. For each actor, then, the measure adds up how
involved that actor is in all of the flows between all other pairs of actors (Wasserman and Faust, 1994).
Since the magnitude of this index number would be expected to increase with the size of the network
and with network density, it is useful to standardize it by calculating the flow betweenness of each
actor in ratio to the total flow betweenness that does not involve the actor (Everett & Borgatti, 1999).
Table 5. Flow betweenness
FlowBet nFlowBet
By this more complete measure of betweenness centrality, FEMA (actor #2), U.S. Military and Armed
Forces (actor #13), HHS (actor #3), and New York City Office of Emergency Management (actor # 35)
are clearly the most important mediators. New York State Emergency Management Office (NYSEMO)
(actor #31) and American Red Cross (ARC) (actor #40), who were fairly important when we
considered only geodesic flows, appear to be rather less important by this calculation. While the
overall picture does not change a great deal, the elaborated definition of betweenness does give us a
somewhat different impression of who is most central in this network.
Cliques and Sub-groups: Groupings of Organizational Networks
Networks are also built up out of the combining of dyads and triads into larger, but still closely
connected sub-structures. Many of the approaches to understanding the structure of a network
emphasize how dense connections are compounded and extended to develop larger cliques or sub-
groupings (Wasserman and Faust, 1994). A clique is simply a sub-set of actors who are more closely
tied to each other than they are to actors who are not part of the group. This view of social networks
focuses attention on how connection of large networks structures can be built up out of small and
tight components.
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 21
Divisions of actors into cliques is a very important aspect of networks in understanding how the
network as a whole is likely to behave. For example, suppose the actors in one network form two non-
overlapping cliques; and, suppose that the actors in another network also form two cliques, but that
the memberships overlap (some organizations are members of both cliques). Where the groups
overlap, it can be expected that conflict between them is less likely than when the groups do not
overlap (Hanneman, 2001). Where the groups overlap, resources can be mobilized and shared
effectively across the entire network; where the groups do not overlap, resource sharing may occur in
one group and not occur in others.
Knowing how an organization is embedded in the structure of groups within a net may also be
important to understanding its behavior. For example, some organizations may act as “bridges”
between groups (boundary spanners). Other organizations may have all of their relationships within
a single clique (locals). Some actors may be part of a tightly connected group, while others are
completely isolated from this group. Such differences in the ways that organizations are embedded in
the structure of groups within in a network can have profound consequences for the ways that these
actors see the network, and the behaviors that they are likely to practice to sustain or dysfunction the
Table 6. Cliques
FEMA NCS NY State Govt NY City Govt/ Mayor Verizon
FEMA EPA NY State Govt NY City Govt/ Mayor
FEMA HHS NY State Govt NY City Govt/ Mayor NYC OEM
The President FEMA NY State Govt NY City Govt/ Mayor
FEMA DOD NY City Govt/ Mayor NYC OEM
FEMA CDC EPA NY City Govt/ Mayor
FEMA HHS CDC NY City Govt/ Mayor
FEMA USACE EPA NY City Govt/ Mayor
Table 6 suggests a number of things: FEMA, Verizon, HHS, NY City Government/Mayor, NYCEMO,
USDA, and U.S. Military Armed Forces appear to be in the middle of the action in the sense that they
are members of many of the groupings, and serve to connect them, by co-membership.
Figure 4. Hierarchical Clustering of Equivalence Matrix
1 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 1 2 2
Level 8 9 5 6 1 2 5 8 7 0 1 2 4 0 9 3 4 3 1 6 7 2
----- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
4.000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . XXX . . .
3.000 . XXX . XXX XXX . . XXXXX . . XXX XXX XXX .
We see that actors #2 and #21 are joined first as being close because they share 4 clique memberships
in common. At the level of sharing only three clique memberships in common, actors #9, # 15, # 11,
# 12, # 5, # 8, # 1, # 4, # 13, # 14, 3 6, and # 7 join the core. If we require only one clique membership
in common to define group membership, then all actors are joined except # 18.
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu
3 Interview with NY & NJ Port Authority, 11/28/2003
4 The Tri-State Metropolitan Region consists of nearly 20 million people living in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
Much of what was observed on 9/11 and in the days and weeks that followed in New York City’s
massive destruction and social disruption, was a complex organized response. The immediate impact
area was evacuated rapidly and in an orderly manner. After the collapse of the towers, the absence of
panic saved numerous lives. Assisted by emergency workers, occupants of the World Trade Center
and people in the surrounding area helped one another to safety, even at great risk to themselves.
Prior experience with the 1993 Trade Center bombing had led to significant learning among
organizational tenants and occupants of the Twin Towers, and planning and training contributed to
their ability to respond in an adaptive fashion to highly ambiguous and threatening conditions.3
It has long been recognized by academics that disasters represent occasions in which the boundaries
between organizational and collective behavior are blurred. Local capabilities are enhanced through
the active involvement of nonprofit organizations. In the World Trade Center disaster, all these
organizational patterns observed at Ground Zero: NYC emergency response organizations were
assisted by counterpart organizations from throughout the tri-state region4 and ultimately from
communities around the country, by nonprofit organizations offering whatever assistance they could.
Collective behavior brings charitable organizations with their needed resources to disaster areas while
simultaneously creating substantial management challenges.
The insight of both network and complexity theories can help constructs interorganizational networks
and help us understand their workings. Multi-sectoral collaboration involves creating new forms of
relationships among organizations. In order to foster linkages and the trust that would enable
accelerating coordination in emergency management response operations, the government should
provide incentives and information to promote multi-sectoral colloborations.
The idea of interdependency has long been at the heart of organization design in complex environ-
ments. Despite the richness of theoretical developments, there has been relatively little formal
investigation as to the extent to which interdependency among organizations can influence organiza-
tional adaptation over time in dynamic environments. This research represents a modest step towards
understanding how organizational design can be used to help track the interorganizational coordina-
tion in emergencies.
Effective response and recovery operations require colloborations and trust between government
agencies at all levels and between the public and nonprofit sectors. Ongoing collaboration raises trust,
and the importance of broad collaboration among various governmental levels and between govern-
ment, the private sector, the nonprofit sector, and the public cannot be overemphasized. In response
to 9/11 a resilient emergency response was achieved through integrating the resources and capacity
of emergency response organizations with other governmental agencies, private, and nonprofit
Interorganizational Networks in Emergency Response Management / Kapucu 23
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... Previous studies on inter-organizational collaboration have predominantly focused on categorizing the various types of collaboration, including resource-redundant, resource-complementary, resource-dependent, and resource-isolated collaboration models [7], Additionally, researchers have delved into the intricacies of relationship structures and processes within inter-organizational governance networks [14], assessed the efficacy of inter-organizational coordination and cooperation [15], and explored the positive impacts of collaborative efforts on disaster mitigation and response [16]. Some studies have even undertaken the task of evaluating the effectiveness of inter-organizational collaboration by conducting comparative analyses between the formal disaster preparedness plan and the actual response network, taking into account formal and informal networks [17,18]. ...
... It measures the number of connections that each actor has with the other actors. A higher value of degree centrality indicates that the organization is more powerful and more important within the overall network [16,46]. In contrast, betweenness centrality reveals the coordinate power of actors by measuring the frequency with which a particular point falls between pairs of other points on the shortest or geodesic paths connecting them [47]. ...
... The possible reason is that it is easier for organizations to establish homogeneous collaboration based on similar functions due to the resources [7]. Content analysis of the FEMA situation reports indicates that interactions occurred primarily between organizations of similar types [16]. However, this tendency may lead to cross-functional cooperation barriers in emergency response. ...
... The length of communication pathways determines their strength and impacts the value placed on information flows. Longer pathways are typically weak and result in slow response, while short paths typically receive more attention and direct action by the participants (Kapucu, 2005 Hypothesis #5 -Directional: IMTs will have more interorganizational communications than EMONs. ...
... Coordination can occur, but only on a limited basis. Kapucu (2005) show that grouping occurs during disaster response. Grouping occurs as organizations coordinate with organizations of similar characteristics, structures or goals, but fail to interact extensively outside of these parameters. ...
... As this social capital increases, the better one party can understand and project likely actions of the other (Bachmann, 2001). And as more parties become involved in this social network, the more capabilities that may be made available for each participant involved (Kapucu, 2005). ...
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Abstract: The Incident Command System (ICS) exists as the nationwide standard for onsite incident management, as called for under the National Incident Management System (NIMS). However, the effectiveness of ICS is debated, both for its systemic efficacy as a response model and for its inconsistent application. Since the development of ICS, individual responders have trained to work together as Incident Management Teams (IMTs). Even though little research exists on IMTs, their use has increased widely since the release of the NIMS. The alternative to IMTs is implementing ICS through a collection of individuals in an ad hoc manner, often referred to as an Emergent Multi- Organizational Network (EMON). This study strives to determine the impact of IMTs versus EMONs on the effectiveness of emergency and disaster response. It is hypothesized that the use of IMTs will increase the perceived effectiveness of a response, specifically in the application of the Incident Command System. The population for this study is emergency and disaster responders at large, regardless of disciplinary or jurisdictional demographics. The sample population is individual responders comprising both members and non-members of Incident Management Teams. The responders were from across the four state area of FEMA Region VII (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska). Non-IMT responders serve as a control group of EMONs to determine whether IMT membership has any effect on response. This study is limited in that it is not based on specific responses. Instead, respondents provide feedback to a survey based on what their normal actions were for their last biggest response.
... Social network analysis (SNA) studies the relationship between different groups, comprised of a set of actors and their specific relationships (Wasserman and Faust, 1994) and measures the strength of relationships in various networks (Furht, 2010). The SNA was used to assess the inter-organizational collaborations in a mental health system (Provan and Milward, 1995), activities of researchers (Abbasi and Altmann, 2010), cooperation of organizations (Abbasi and Kapucu, 2012), coordination of emergency operations and the influential organizations that coordinate in the response system (Kapucu, 2005). ...
... In fact, sharing of information creates a supportive climate to accomplish determined activities (Varda et al., 2009) and better cooperation between the network members (Hirschi, 2009). It can be said that these measures are critical in coordination which is supported by other studies (Kapucu, 2005, Turoff et al., 2004, Hirschi, 2009. It can also be told that when there is effective trust among members; they engage in sharing information, or inversely, members share information when they have enough trust, which will consequently result in enhancing members' involvement and improving coordination among them. ...
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Emergency response teams would not achieve their goals unless all teams and their members coordinate all levels of response effectively and cohesively. Therefore, before entering any emergency and trying to collaborate with each other, they need to first have a comprehensive understanding about coordination to be able to collaborate with each other effectively. Suchcohesivecoordination will only be obtained through forming higher levels of information sharing, trust and involvement between the employees, so that theemergency management moves with greater performance forward. This study utilized indicators of density, degree and reciprocity of social network analysis at the whole level. Coordination, as a critical measure, depended on efforts among several teams rather than one or two teams' endeavor, so there were needs to defeat coordination challenges among the teams to work together well. As a result, establishing relationships among response teams could help to create and facilitate coordination. The study tried to introduce some of the effective ways to establish coordination. Such effective ways were those which could successfully be implemented by active and influential teams to play more effective roles. According to the results of the present research, coordination could be considered as a triangular principle (Figure 1), including reciprocally shared information, trust, and involvement of members (ITI). Coordination Figure1. Coordination Triangle Including Information Sharing, Trust, and Involvement of Members (ITI)
... Bien que tous les réseaux et organisations travaillent avec une idéologie et des objectifs généraux communs de coordination et d'efficacité dans un contexte de réponse d'urgence, une gouvernance divisée multicouche permet à l'ensemble du réseau d'atteindre des buts qui peuvent varier, avec des ressources différentes et étendues sur une vaste région géographique. Il s'agit donc d'une structure de gouvernance très complexe, mais qui permet aux acteurs du réseau de réponse d'urgence de répondre à une plus grande variété de besoins sur une couverture géographique plus vaste, grâce à la spécialisation par expertise des centres de coordination et au déploiement des ressources de chacun des réseaux qui s'entrecroisent et se chevauchent.De plus, les résultats d'une analyse de la Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) aux États-Unis relative à la réponse aux attentats du 11 septembre 2001 indiquent que les organisations tendent à maintenir les lignes de communication directes avec les organisations du même type, c'est-à-dire entre organisations privées, entre organismes communautaires ou entre institutions publiques(Kapucu, 2005). De ce fait, établir une structure à centres de coordination multiples semble tout à fait indiqué pour éviter le cloisonnement des communications et des organisations de même type.Qui plus est, une structure à réseau multicentre a également été observée et appuyée dans le cas de l'inondation en 2012 à Lorca et Puerto Lumbreras, en Espagne. ...
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Le 27 février 2010, un tremblement de terre secoue le Chili. L’ampleur du désastre nécessite une réponse d’envergure mobilisant de nombreux intervenants. Le constat de ceux-ci quant au manque d’efficacité de la gestion de crise à la suite du désastre les conduit à bâtir un réseau afin d’améliorer la coordination. Cette recherche vise à expliquer la formation et l’évolution de la structure de gouvernance du réseau de réponse d’urgence chilien entre 2010 et 2019. Les résultats montrent que les modèles existants, notamment ceux proposés par Provan et Kenis (2008), ne permettent pas d’expliquer la complexité du troisième niveau de développement du réseau observé. La théorie de l’analyse sociale des réseaux et le concept de réseau multicouche ont été mobilisés pour explorer ses nuances. Ainsi, nous proposons un nouveau modèle, celui de gouvernance divisée multicouche, pour décrire le dernier niveau de développement observé entre 2015 et 2019.
... UCINET, as social network analysis software, provides visualization tools for various types of relational network structures so that the positions and shapes of each actor in the relational network structure are presented in a more visual form [30][31][32]. UCINET is often used to analyze the interactions between public, private, and non-profit organizations [33,34]. ...
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As typical innovation organizations, the structure and efficiency of cooperation among universities’ innovation behaviors are important influencing factors for regional innovation sustainable development. In 2019, the Chinese government promulgated the “Outline of the Development Plan of The Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao Great Bay Area”, which directly promotes a sustainable cooperation network of universities in the Great Bay Area. This study used UCINET to visualize the cooperation network of universities in Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao based on the cooperation data generated by 35 universities in the Guangdong–Hong Kong–Macao Great Bay Area, jointly establishing 37 professional alliances that developed 888 cooperation ties from 2017 to 2022. The results show that the current cooperative network density of universities in the Great Bay Area is high (density = 0.746), but the cohesion trend is not significant (network centralization = 26.92%); a clear circle structure has been formed. The network exhibits a narrow shape at both ends and widens in the middle; the higher the hierarchical position of universities in the region, the more likely they are to enter the core cooperation network and establish more cooperation relationships. Universities in the marginal circles find it especially difficult to initiate cooperative relationships due to their disadvantageous position in terms of limited resources and a lack of administrative intervention. The current cooperation situation still has room for expansion.
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Objective: To identify and describe patterns and challenges in communication in sudden-onset major incidents. Methods: Systematic scoping review according to Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Data sources included Cochrane Library, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, SweMed+, Web of Science, and Google Scholar. Non-indexed literature was searched as well. The included literature went through data extraction and quality appraisal as per pre-registered protocol. Results: The scoping review comprised 32 papers from different sources. Communication breakdown was reported in 25 (78.1%) of the included papers. Inter-authority communication challenges were reported in 18 (56.3%) of the papers. System overload and incompatibility was described in 9 papers (28.1%). Study design was clearly described in 30 papers (93.8%). Conclusions: The pattern in major incident communication is reflected by frequent breakdowns with potential and actual consequences for patient survival and outcome. The challenges in communication are predominantly inter-authority communication, system overload and incompatibility, and insufficient pre-incident planning and guidelines.
A virulent outbreak of Ebola Virus Disease killed thousands of individuals between December 2013 and June 2016. The risk of contagion among European Union (EU) citizens increased its salience to unprecedented levels for an outbreak that primarily affected sub-Saharan Africa. Considering the need for analyzing recent external transboundary outbreak responses in the post-COVID-19 era, this paper explains the involvement of the EU in the Ebola outbreak. By combining descriptive social network analysis with fourteen semi-structured interviews, it provides original insights into European politics and crisis management scholarship. The findings partially support theoretical expectations regarding the relevance of postcolonial ties and institutional frameworks in the reaction. It also suggests that neorealist literature fails to capture its full complexity. Hence, institutional deficiencies explain the low centrality and flawed coordination among EU actors in the response. Additionally, postcolonial ties with the affected countries facilitated the involvement of Western governments in the reaction. However, not all former colonial powers were equally involved in the response. Finally, countries that registered infections did not necessarily play central roles in this effort. These findings have broader implications for the involvement of the EU in future external outbreaks, including the need for establishing clearer and explicit allocations of competences.
The practically free travelling between Greece and Bulgaria raises the issue of adequate and timely monitoring and exchanging of reliable data and information on contagious diseases, parasitic and other diseases, in order to protect public health. The objective of this article is to approach the preparation of a Joint Cross-Border Action Plan, which will contribute to the improvement of the health status in the intervention area. We collected directly information from executives in both countries, also during joint meetings, analysed and prioritised certain diseases and infections, studied related literature and also included through update on the approach to COVID-19 pandemic, to reach a proposed joint Cross-Border Greece-Bulgaria action plan including objectives and selected performance indicators. Based on the views of the healthcare and authorities’ executives and our research, it was found that the cooperation through a specific plan, supported by a Joint Cross-Border Advisory Board could contribute significantly to the protection of public health.KeywordsPublic healthContagious diseasesJoint action planGreeceBulgariaClassification CodesI18: Government PolicyRegulationPublic health
An abundance of unstructured and loosely structured data on disasters exists and can be analyzed using network methods. This paper overviews the use of qualitative data in quantitative social network analysis in disaster research. We discuss two types of networks, each with a relevant major topic in disaster research (i.e., whole network approaches to emergency management networks and personal network approaches to the social support of survivors) and four usable forms of qualitative data. We explain five opportunities afforded by these approaches revolving around their flexibility and ability to account for complex network structures. Next, we present an empirical illustration that extends our previous work examining the sources and types of support and barrier experienced by households during long-term recovery from Superstorm Sandy, wherein we utilized quantitative social network analysis on two qualitative datasets (Lee et al., 2020). We discuss three challenges for these approaches related to the samples, coding, and bias.
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COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of essential public health functions (EPHFs) and the coordination between them. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines EPHFs as ‘the public health activities that all communities should undertake’. According to multiple functional frameworks published in literature, the functions typically include workforce development, surveillance, public health research, laboratory services, health promotion, outbreak response and emergency management. National Public Health Institutes (NPHIs) are often the lead government agency responsible for execution of these functions. This paper describes how NPHIs or other health authorities can improve public health impact by enhancing the coordination of public health functions and public health actors through functional and organisational linkages. We define public health linkages as practical, replicable activities that facilitate collaboration between public health functions or organisations to improve public health. In this paper, we propose a novel typology to categorise important public health linkages and describe enablers of linkages identified through our research. Based on our research, investments in health systems should move beyond vertical approaches to developing public health capacity and place greater emphasis on strengthening the interactions between public health functions and institutions. Development of linkages and their enablers require a purposeful, proactive focus that establishes and strengthens linkages over time and cannot be developed during an outbreak or other public health emergency.
Dwight Waldo wrote nearly fifty years ago that democracy is very much more than the political context in which public administration is carried out. Public administration is now less hierarchical and insular and is increasingly networked. This has important implications for democracy, including changing responsibilities for the public interest, for meeting public preferences, and for the enhancement of political deliberation, civility, and trust. Networked public administration can pose a threat to democratic governance and it can open possibilities for strengthening governance, depending on the values and actions of public administrators. [B]oth private and public administration were in an important and far-reaching sense false to the ideal of democracy. They were false by reason of their insistence that democracy, however good and desirable, is nevertheless something peripheral to administration.
This paper reports on the development of social network analysis, tracing its origins in classical sociology and its more recent formulation in social scientific and mathematical work. It is argued that the concept of social network provides a powerful model for social structure, and that a number of important formal methods of social network analysis can be discerned. Social network analysis has been used in studies of kinship structure, social mobility, science citations, contacts among members of deviant groups, corporate power, international trade exploitation, class structure, and many other areas. A review of the formal models proposed in graph theory, multidimensional scaling, and algebraic topology is followed by extended illustrations of social network analysis in the study of community structure and interlocking directorships.