Interorganizational Collaboration in the Hurricane Katrina Response


Share / Export Citation / Email / Print / Text size:

Journal of Social Structure

International Network for Social Network Analysis

Subject: Social Sciences


eISSN: 1529-1227





Volume / Issue / page

Volume 22 (2021)
Volume 21 (2020)
Volume 20 (2019)
Volume 19 (2018)
Volume 18 (2017)
Volume 17 (2016)
Volume 16 (2015)
Volume 15 (2014)
Volume 14 (2013)
Volume 13 (2012)
Volume 12 (2011)
Volume 11 (2010)
Volume 10 (2009)
Related articles

VOLUME 13 , ISSUE 1 (December 2012) > List of articles

Interorganizational Collaboration in the Hurricane Katrina Response

Carter T. Butts * / Ryan M. Acton / Christopher Steven Marcum

Keywords : Disasters, Hurricane Katrina, emergent multiorganizational networks, interorganizational collaboration

Citation Information : Journal of Social Structure. Volume 13, Issue 1, Pages 1-37, DOI:

License : (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Published Online: 14-August-2019



In this paper, we employ archival materials from multiple institutional sources to reconstruct the dynamic network of interorganizational collaboration that emerged in response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster of late 2005. Over the period from initial storm formation through the first week following landfall in Louisiana, we record active participation by over 1,500 organizations in response activities. We here conduct an exploratory analysis of the growth and evolution of the network of collaboration among responding organizations, an identification of organizations that emerged as central actors in the response process, and the cohesive subgroups that crystallized within the larger network. Finally, we conclude with a discussion of several issues related to the use of archival methods in research on interorganizational networks in disaster settings, and to the use of automated methods for network extraction.

Content not available PDF Share



Auf der Heide, E. (1989). Disaster Response: Principles of Preparation and Coordination. Mosby, St. Louis, MO.

Banipal, K. (2006). Strategic approaches to disaster management: Lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina. Disaster Prevention and Management, 15(3):484–494.

Barab´asi, A.-L. and Albert, R. (1999). Emergence of scaling in random networks. Science, 206:509– 512.

Bollob´as, B. (2001). Random Graphs. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, second edition.

Bourque, L. B., Siegel, J. M., Kano, M., and Wood, M. M. (2006). Weathering the storm: The impact of hurricanes on physical and mental health. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 604:129–151.

Butts, C. T. (2003). Network inference, error, and informant (in)accuracy: a Bayesian approach. Social Networks, 25(2):103–140.

Butts, C. T. and Cross, B. R. (2009). Change and external events in computer-mediated citation networks: Englishlanguageweblogsandthe2004U.S.electoralcycle. Journal of Social Structure, 10.

Butts, C.T., Petrescu-Prahova, M., andCross, B.R.(2007). Respondercommunicationnetworksin the World Trade Center Disaster: Implications for modeling of communication within emergency settings. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 31(2):121–147.

Comfort, L. K. and Haas, T. W. (2006). Communication, coherence, and collective action: The impact of Hurricane Katrina on communications infrastructure. Public Works Management and Policy, 10(4):328–343.

Comfort, L. K. and Kapucu, N. (2006). Interorganizational coordination in extreme events: The World Trade Center attack, September 11, 2001. Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, 39(2):309–327.

de Sherbinin, A., Chen, R. S., and Levy, M. A. (2007). What does climate change mean for the hazards community? Natural Hazards Observer, 31(6):11–13.

DHS (2004). National Response Plan. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, DC. Drabek, T. E. (2003). Strategies for coordinating disaster responses. Technical Report 61, Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Drabek, T. E. and McEntire, D. A. (2002). Emergent phenomena and multiorganizational coordinationindisasters: Lessonsfromtheresearchliterature. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 20(2):197–224.

Drabek, T. E., Tamminga, H. L., Kilijanek, T. S., and Adams, C. R. (1981). Managing Multiorganizational Emergency Responses: Emergent Search and Rescue Networks in Natural Disaster and Remote Area Settings. Number Monograph 33 in Program on Technology, Environment, and Man. Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

Dynes, R. R. (1970). Organized Behavior in Disaster. Heath Lexington, Lexington, MA.

Freeman, L. C. (1979). Centrality in social networks: Conceptual clarification. Social Networks, 1(3):223–258.

Fritz, C. E. and Mathewson, J. H. (1957). Convergence Behavior in Disasters: A Problem in Social Control. NationalAcademyofSciences, CommitteeonDisasterStudies, DisasterResearchGroup, Washington, DC.

Gabe, T., Falk, G., McCarty, M., and Mason, V. (2006). Hurricane Katrina: Social Demographic Characteristics of Impacted Areas. Congressional Research Service, Washington DC.

Garfinkel, H. (1967). Studies in Ethnomethodology. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Goffman, E. (1959). The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Social Sciences Research Centre, Monograph no. 2. University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh.

Gould, R. and Fernandez, R. (1989). Structures of mediation: A formal approach to brokerage in transaction networks. Sociological Methodology, 19:89–126.

Handcock, M. S., Hunter, D. R., Butts, C. T., Goodreau, S. M., and Morris, M. (2003). statnet: A suite of R packages for the statistical modeling of social networks.

Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks (2006). Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks: Report and Recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission. Wiley Rein and Fielding, Washington, DC.

Irwin, J. O. (1963). The place of mathematics in medical and biological statistics. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series A, 126(1):1–45.

Johnson, N. L., Kotz, S., and Kemp, A. W. (1992). Univariate Discrete Distributions. John Wiley and Sons, New York.

Jones, J. H. and Handcock, M. S. (2003). An assessment of preferential attachment as a mechanism for human sexual network formation. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B, 270:1123–1128.

Kapucu, N. (2006). Interagency communication networks during emergencies: Boundary spanners in multiagency coordination. American Review of Public Administration, 36(2):207–225.

Knabb, R. D., Rhome, J. R., and Brown, D. P. (2005). Tropical cyclone report: Hurricane Katrina, 23–30 August 2005. Technical report, National Hurricane Center, Miami, FL.

Kobayashi, M. and Takeda, K. (2000). Information retrieval on the web. ACM Computing Surveys, 32(2):144–173.

Krackhardt, D. (1987). Cognitive social structures. Social Networks, 9(2):109–134.

Krackhardt, D. (1994). Graph theoretical dimensions of informal organizations. In Carley, K. M. and Prietula, M. J., editors, Computational Organizational Theory, pages 88–111.Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ.

Lind, B. E., Tirado, M., Butts, C. T., and Petrescu-Prahova, M. (2008). Brokerage roles in disaster response: Organizational mediation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. International Journal of Emergency Management, 5:75–99.

Marsden, P. V. (2005). Recent developments in network measurement. In Carrington, P. J., Scott, J., and Wasserman, S., editors, Models and Methods in Social Network Analysis, chapter 2, pages 8–30. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Mayhew, B. H. (1984). Baseline models of sociological phenomena. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 9:259–281.

Mileti, D. S., Drabek, T. E., and Haas, J. E. (1975). Human Systems in Extreme Environments. Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO.

NOAA (2006). Historical north atlantic and east-central north pacific tropical cyclone tracks, 1851–2005.

Owens, B. (2005). Colorado National Guard deploys personnel to Gulf Coast relief effort.

Petrescu-Prahova, M. and Butts, C. T. (2008). Emergent coordinators in the World Trade Center Disaster. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, 28(3):133–168.

Powell, W. W. (1990). Neither market nor hierarchy: Network forms of organization. In Research in Organizational Behavior, volume 12, pages 295–336. JAI Press.

Powell, W. W., Koput, K. W., and Smith-Doerr, L. (1996). Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology. Administrative Science Quarterly, 41(1):116–145.

Price, D. J. d. S. (1976). A general theory of bibliometric and other cumulative advantage processes. Journal of the American Society for Information Science, 27:292–306.

Seidman, S. B. (1983). Network structure and minimum degree. Social Networks, 5:269–287.

Simon, H. A. (1955). On a class of skew distribution functions. Biometrika, 42:425–440.

Tierney, K. J. (2003). Conceptualizing and measuring organizational and community resilience: Lessons learned from the emergency response following the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Tierney, K. J., Bevc, C., and Kuligowski, E. (2006). Metaphors matter: Disaster myths, media frames, and their consequences in Hurricane Katrina. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 604:57–81.

Tierney, K. J. and Trainor, J. (2004). Networks and reslience in the World Trade Center Disaster. In Research Progress and Accomplishments, 2003–2004. Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, Buffalo, NY.

Topper, C. M. and Carley, K. M. (1999). A structural perspective on the emergence of network organizations. Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 24(1):67–96.

van Merode, F., Nieboer, A., Maarse, H., and Lieverdink, H. (2004). Analyzing the dynamics in multilateral negotiations. Social Networks, 26:141–154.

Wachtendorf, T. (2004). Improvising 9/11: Organizational Improvisation Following the World Trade Center Disaster. PhD thesis, University of Delaware.

Wasserman, S. and Faust, K. (1994). Social Network Analysis: Methods and Applications. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Williamson, O. (1975). Markets and Hierarchies, Analysis and Antitrust Implications: A Study in the Economics of Internal Organizations. Free Press, New York.