The Contributions of Management Theory and Practice to Emergency Management

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The Contributions of Management Theory and Practice to Emergency Management
John C. Pine is the Director of the Disaster Science and Management, Professor-Research with the Department of Environmental Studies and Interim Chair of the Department of Geography and Anthropology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. (225) 578-1075

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This chapter takes a look at the impact that management theory and how the basic functions and practice of management as well as the role of the manager and approaches to management have contributed to the practice of emergency management. Current views of management theory stress the changing nature of the external environment and the need to understand and address these external forces for change. The contribution and role of systems theory and contingency theory to the emergency management process is stressed. Although some might view that we do not manage disasters, there is an overlap between the contribution of management theory and emergency management. Management theory stresses the need for effective planning to ensure that organizational goals are obtained. Emergency and crisis management emphasize that effective emergency response and recovery is based on good planning. Building sustainable organizations and communities is a common goal of both management and emergency management. Management and disaster-related issues and concerns along with strategies to improve emergency management practice from the field of management are provided. Finally, recommendations are provided for including emergency and crisis management in management curriculums.

Emergency today is a complex function involving public safety and security, business affairs, public and information affairs, information systems administration, communication technologies, mapping sciences and hazard modeling, legal affairs, and coordination with numerous other organizations. This diverse set of functions and activities requires emergency managers to be effective managers of programs and operational managers of many direct disaster activities. The effective management of both program and operational activities requires an understanding of management principles. This chapter examines the development of management theory and some of the major contributions that management theory has made to the field of emergency management. It discusses some of the major management concepts including the role of the manager, strategic planning, systems theory and contingency theory, which are critical to the practice of emergency management. The overlap between management theory and disasters may be seen in concepts associated with crisis management and the importance of values, diversity, and legal issues to both management theory and emergency management. A solid foundation in concepts of management will form the basis for any emergency management activity.

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