The evolutionary role of interorganizational communication: Modeling social capital in disaster contexts

Marya L. Doerfel*, Chih-Hui Lai, Lisa V. Chewning

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations

Abstract

Employing a community ecology perspective, this study examines how interorganizational (IO) communication and social capital (SC) facilitated organizational recovery after Hurricane Katrina. In-depth interviews with 56 New Orleans organizations enabled longitudinal analysis and a grounded theory model that illustrates how communication differentiated four phases of recovery: personal emergency, professional emergency, transition, rebuilding. Communicative action taking place across phases corresponds with the evolutionary mechanisms. Most organizations did not turn to interorganizational relationships (IORs) until the transitional phase, during which indirect ties were critical and incoming versus outgoing communication was substantively different. Organizations did not consistently use IO SC until the last phase. This study underlines the fact that organizations and their systems are fundamentally human and (re)constructed through communicative action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-162
Number of pages38
JournalHuman Communication Research
Volume36
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2010

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