Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 150, Issue 2, pp 357–384 | Cite as

Cross-Sector Social Interactions and Systemic Change in Disaster Response: A Qualitative Study

  • Anne M. QuarshieEmail author
  • Rudolf Leuschner
Original Paper


The United States National Preparedness System has evolved significantly in the recent past. These changes have affected the system structures and goals for disaster response. At the same time, actors such as private businesses have become increasingly involved in disaster efforts. In this paper, we begin to fill the gap in the cross-sector literature regarding interactions that have systemic impacts by investigating how the simultaneous processes of systemic change and intensifying cross-sector interaction worked and interacted in the context of the preparedness system. We examine these inter-linkages through a qualitative study in the setting of Hurricane Sandy. Drawing from systems theory, we develop a grounded model that provides an explanation for the system change and highlights how cross-sector interaction relates to the changes observed in the system.


Cross-sector social interaction Qualitative research Systemic change 



First, we would like to thank our informants for sharing their stories with us. In addition, we appreciate the helpful comments and feedback we received from the review team and the following individuals: Wesley Helms, Arno Kourula, Kristiina Mäkelä, Jonatan Pinkse, Asta Salmi, Eleanor Westney, and Zhaohui Wu.


This study was funded by the Foundation for Economic Education in Finland (Liikesivistysrahasto) and The Dr.h.c. Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Business and ManagementLappeenranta University of TechnologyLappeenrantaFinland
  2. 2.Rutgers Business SchoolRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

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