Participatory project management for improved disaster resilience

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Journal Article

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Crawford, L., Langston, C., & Bajracharya, B. (2013). Participatory project management for improved disaster resilience. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 4(3), 317-333.

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Purpose – Disaster response and recovery is implemented through multiple projects with traditional project management approaches criticised as too time consuming and inflexible in circumstances of high uncertainty, requiring rapid reaction for multiple stakeholders. This research aims to understand the role of project and stakeholder management in the management of disasters as an opening for identifying improved disaster resilience opportunities using participatory project management approaches. Design/methodology/approach – Using the 2011 Queensland floods as a case study, the positioning of project management in disaster management discourse was investigated through summative content analysis. Findings – Results demonstrate that project and stakeholder engagement are poorly positioned in current disaster management discourse, although risk management appears more central, closely associated with disaster response. Research limitations/implications – This is the first stage of more extensive reviews of the positioning of project management in disaster management policies and practice. Further stages will involve a wider range of texts and textual analysis. Practical implications – Results confirm poor recognition of traditional project management approaches in disaster management discourse indicating potential for more innovative and participatory approaches integrating multiple stakeholder perspectives to support disaster resilience. Social implications – Achieving improved community safety and disaster resilience requires multiple stakeholder collaboration for capability development in effective management of projects required to predict, respond and recover from disastrous events.Originality/value – The paper addresses the sparse overlap between project and disaster management literatures identifying potential for more participatory management of disaster events.

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