Compassion Organizing for Public-Private Collaboration in Disaster Management

Compassion Organizing for Public-Private Collaboration in Disaster Management

Taewon Moon (Hongik University, South Korea) and Sunghoon Ko (Hongik University, South Korea)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8159-0.ch006


Compassion organizing evokes positive identity in both the public and private sectors, which leads to effective collaboration between the two sectors. Although when some organize they instinctively apply tenets of compassion organizing, there is much more that can be done to yield substantive gains in individual satisfaction and organizational success. Compassion organizing is not another form of emotional intelligence. Rather, compassion organizing builds three organizational capabilities (i.e. cognitive, affective, and structural capability). Furthermore, explicitly utilizing compassion organizing allows, and in fact requires, that organizations and members of those organizations keep positive identities throughout their association. This will maintain the socio-psychological tie of organizational identification that is critical to cooperation between the public and private sector. This chapter explores compassion organizing and the concepts that form the foundation for compassion organizing. Then, this chapter specifically applies compassion organizing to entities engaged in emergency management, particularly those in public-private partnerships.
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Compassion organizing in response to individuals suffering from unexpected disasters varies by organization. For instance, a variety of organizations reacted very differently to the unexpected devastation (i.e., pain of human loss) in the attacks of September 11. Although prior research has suggested that organizational routines/patterns (Zollo & Winter, 2002) and organizational cultures/values (Bansal, 2003) affect responses to unexpected events or disasters, it does not address how emotions and compassion of the organizational members interrelate to these surprise occurrences. Moreover, managers and practitioners engaged in disaster management have not paid attention to how compassion organizing emerges, and why it is crucial to facilitate effective disaster management. Gittell et al. (2006) argue that both relational and financial reserves determine variances in compassion organizing activities as a result of comparisons among ten airlines’ response to the events of September 11. As a result, managers within the organization highlight a dehumanized and mechanical approach to deal with their workload regarding disaster management so organizations start standardizing processes without a proper level of empathy toward people who are suffering intensely.

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