Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Informal social networks as generic contingency plans

Emergency contingency plans are conceived as an alternative rational‐logical set of actions when a formal emergency plan may be inadequate during an actual crisis. Most, like the official plan, are based on protocols inherent in the formal administrative structure of the organization with little attention paid to pervasive informal social networks found in the organization. We argue that a perspective focusing on informal social networks within organizations may provide a viable solution to supplement the formal plan. This approach integrates the power of informal social networks within and across organizations through the social context of transferring information and adaptive behaviours that have proven vital for organizational continuity. Special attention is paid to how a social network approach, as the basis for its integration into a viable contingency plan, is feasible for a variety of organizations.

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