When disaster strikes, communities rally to respond. Police, firefighters, and EMTs are often joined by average citizens to provide assistance to those affected. For the largest disasters, states and the federal government send people and resources as well. Then there’s the role businesses play.
The hurricane command center of national hardware retailer Home Depot1 and the emergency response trucks of Texas grocer H-E-B2 are prime examples of the efforts businesses can make in responding to disaster. It’s a part of business that doesn’t always get a lot of coverage, but it’s one that can be hugely important. That is why Walden University’s Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program addresses the role business can and should play in emergency management.
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In the DBA degree course Business Infrastructure Vulnerability Analysis, Walden students study resources such as the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) supplemental resource document “Support for Public-Private Collaboration.”3 In the document, DHS lays out eight benefits of increasing emergency management/response collaboration between government agencies and private businesses. As written in the document, public and private partnership in emergency situations can:
- Enhance situational awareness.
Rather than rely only on information gathered through standard government structures, all levels of government and the private sector have much to gain through shared situational awareness. This might be through an exchange of structured situation reports between a public and private emergency operations center, or through other formal and information exchanges like Twitter feeds, verbal accounts, and video and photos submitted by representatives of the private sector. The private sector, too, relies on timely information from the government to make sound business decisions related to operations, customer and employee safety, and supporting communications.
- Improve decision-making.
The more complete and accurate a picture that can be created, the better decisions government and private sector leaders can make. Ideally, the enhanced situational awareness will move toward real-time capabilities that allow decision-makers to make informed choices based on the most up-to-date, relevant, and accurate data.
- Access more resources.
When the public and private sectors work together, one of the key results is more resources dedicated to making communities stronger and recovering more quickly from emergencies. Resources include not only donated or paid goods and services, but also the intellectual capital that private sector executives bring in the form of strategic and business knowledge.
- Expand reach and access for communication efforts.
Regular, meaningful communication is vital to the success of any effort. When private sector partners are willing to carry a message, article, or other communication through their internal channels—such as organizational websites, newsletters, trade publications, e-mails, Twitter and Facebook accounts, and messaging systems—they help increase access to vital information by people who may need it.
- Better coordination with other efforts by segments of the private sector.
No matter what stage of the emergency management cycle you are in, the private sector has a related piece of the puzzle. Close collaboration and coordination through ongoing partnership efforts will support effective planning, preparedness, and response by all participating members of a public-private partnership.
- Increase the effectiveness of emergency management efforts.
Public-private partnerships increase transparency and understanding by all parties involved. For example, people may be more likely to take appropriate action when they learn of it through their employer, and government efforts can be more effective when they are based on a true understanding of private sector capabilities, limitations, and requirements.
- Maintain strong relationships, built on mutual understanding.
The value of good working relationships has been proven repeatedly during emergencies of all types. Many public-private partnerships have been established only after the community has experienced the impact and lengthy recovery after an uncoordinated response to major disaster. Other partnerships have evolved after learning from the lessons of their peers. Either way, it is essential that all stakeholders involved in a response have established relationships long before something happens. The result is faster, more effective response and recovery.
- Create more resilient communities and increase jurisdictional capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from major incidents.
The effort that government and private sector partners contribute toward collaboration, coordination, and communication throughout the year pays dividends and can be measured in the resilience of a community to all hazards.
As the DHS document makes clear, businesses can make a real difference in disaster preparation and response, and we would be better off if more businesses knew how they can help. Fortunately, there’s something you can do to make sure businesses are prepared for disaster. You can enroll in a DBA program.
When you earn a doctorate in business, you can gain the advanced knowledge you need to help your current or future business create or refine its emergency preparation. Unlike the academic focus of a PhD in Management program—or any other PhD program—top DBA programs are designed for business management professionals who want to address real-world problems within a business setting. It’s a valuable degree for anyone who wants to advance in the business world. And thanks to online learning, earning a DBA degree is more possible than ever.
When you enroll in an online DBA program, you can complete your doctorate from wherever you live. There’s no need to be close to a campus; instead, you’ll complete your online DBA degree courses from home or anywhere else you have internet access. You can also take classes at whatever time of day works best for you, making it possible to work around your existing schedule.
There’s a lot businesses can do to prepare for and respond to disaster. With a Doctor of Business Administration, you can help businesses not only survive the unexpected, but help their communities survive, too.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.