Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 25 Issue 4 (December 2017), Pages 195-403

What Factors Drive Organizational Learning From Crisis? Insights From the Dutch Food Safety Services’ Response to Four Veterinary Crises (pages 326-340)

Although organizational learning has been studied extensively, empirical studies in relation to crises and theory building have remained scarce. This study explored what factors affect the learning process from crises of a public sector organization. We studied the responses of the Dutch food safety services (NVWA) to the veterinary crises classical swine fever (1997–1998), foot‐and‐mouth disease (2001), avian influenza (2003) and Q fever (2007–2010). Data from in‐depth interviews with key experts in the organization and from crisis management documents pointed to political–economic context, social–emotional understanding, organizational structure, organizational culture, crisis management stage and organizational forgetting as key factors. Remarkably, postcrisis evaluation reports, leadership and a shared sense‐making of what lessons to learn were not found to play a central role.

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