A case study of collaborative disaster management in Malaysia. (2019)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsLee, Khiam Jinshow all
Cross-sector collaboration is often cited as an effective tool to mitigate and manage disasters (James, 2011; Power, 2017). However, research in non-disaster settings suggests that collaboration is difficult to develop and is problematic (Connelly, Zhang, & Faerman, 2008; Uhr, 2017). Simultaneous cooperation and competition between organisations (Bengtsson, Raza-Ullah, & Vanyushyn, 2016; Stentoft, Mikkelsen, & Ingstrup, 2018) can also hinder collaboration. Thus, though collaboration between agencies during disasters is considered necessary, it can be challenging in practice. This study examines the barriers to cross-sector collaboration during disasters by investigating collaborative disaster management of floods in Malaysia.
The study employs a qualitative methodology using a case study approach. The case involved the management of disasters caused by floods. The Malaysia National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), a nodal agency for managing disasters, is the focal organisation. Semi-structured interviews were used for data collection. The research participants were 24 strategic and operational decision makers in 12 different disaster management organisations. In addition, six disaster aid recipients were interviewed. Secondary data from government documents and news reports complemented interview data. Data analysis techniques used included two cycles of coding, memoing, constant comparisons and theoretical saturation (Charmaz, 2008, 2014; Saldaña, 2016).
The thesis identifies three barriers to cross-sector collaboration between stakeholders during disasters: a) perceived organisational status and hierarchy; b) different levels of motivation to collaborate; and, c) organisations lack the ability to collaborate in disasters. Based on the motivation to collaborate and the perceptions of one’s and others’ ability to collaborate, the thesis proposes four types of collaboration: (1) enthusiastic, (2) mandate-driven, (3) reluctant, and (4) non-collaborative. For practitioners, this study suggests integrating collaborative approaches within a command and control framework for effective disaster management.