Title page for ETD etd-04122007-105140

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Borne, John Clinton
Author's Email Address jcb@lsu.edu
URN etd-04122007-105140
Title Mitigating Disaster: Mapping Cognitive Processes in Applying Technology to Crises
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Information Systems & Decision Sciences (Business Administration)
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Suzanne D. Pawlowski Committee Chair
Andrea L. Houston Committee Member
Edward F. Watson Committee Member
  • information technology
  • disaster studies
  • bricolage
Date of Defense 2007-04-11
Availability unrestricted
Extreme events are sometimes defined as unexpected events in which local resources are insufficient to cope with the extent of the damage and require outside resources to address the hazards specific to the event. For that reason, communities immediately adjacent to disaster areas have a unique and important role in the study of measures to mitigate the effects of the resulting hazards to human life and property. This exploratory study looks at the use of information technology in conjunction with disaster mitigation activities in areas adjacent to a large disaster. The experiences, thoughts, and beliefs of individuals involved in mitigation activities at Louisiana State University immediately following Hurricane Katrina and the resulting large scale evacuation of New Orleans were captured through interviews in which cognitive maps were developed. Through a Grounded Theory approach, the data was analyzed for theoretical fit. In the early analysis the data grouped itself into three main stories; the Implementers, Decision Makers, and the Vendor stories.

The best theoretical fit was found in elements of Improvisation Theory. Specifically, alignment was found in the use of "Bricolage" in solving problems, the unique elements that resulted in a climate of openness to improvisational processes, and the improvisation of command and control. Finally, other research questions that came up in the course of the study are examined.

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