Organizational Responses: Introduction to Hazard Mitigation Investment Decision Making in Hospitals

  • Daniel J. AleschEmail author
  • Lucy A. Arendt
  • William J. Petak
Part of the Environmental Hazards book series (ENHA)


California hospitals have had to contemplate a complex web of interdependent decisions around SB 1953. The decisions have involved substantial capital commitments, extensive and not always well known opportunity costs, ongoing internal and external political maneuvering, consideration and reconsideration of decision fit with business strategy, establishing relationships with and evaluating the trustworthiness of architectural and engineering firms, and creativity in designing and implementing solutions that may not have been immediately apparent or appropriate. The decisions have not only been complex; they have had to be made again and again. As time has gone by, different players have joined the ranks of the decision makers and those charged with ensuring compliance with SB 1953 and the required regulations. Moreover, circumstances have regularly changed as amendments have been made to the law, as more information has become available, and as healthcare economics have continued to change. Traditional rational decision-making approaches have been found wanting, as “the problem” and possible solutions have been defined differently, depending on who was looking at them and when. This chapter introduces hazard mitigation investment decision making from the perspective of hospitals affected by SB 1953. Later chapters address the specific factors influencing hospital decision making.


  1. Dess GG, Beard DW (1984) Dimensions of organizational task environments. Adm Sci Q 29:52–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. DiMaggio PJ, Powell WW (1983) The iron cage revisited: institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in the organizational field. Am Social Rev 48:147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hambrick D, Mason P (1984) Upper echelons: the organization as a reflection of its top managers. Acad Manage Rev 9:193–206Google Scholar
  4. Lazarus RS, Folkman S (1984) Stress, appraisal, and coping. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. March JG, Olsen JP (1973) Ambiguity and choice in organizations. Universitetsforlaget, BergenGoogle Scholar
  6. March JG, Simon HA (1958) Organizations. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Meade C, Kulick J (2007) SB 1953 and the challenge of hospital seismic safety in California. California HealthCare Foundation, OaklandGoogle Scholar
  8. Petak WJ, Alesch DJ (2004) Organizational decision making with respect to extreme events: healthcare organizations respond to California’s SB 1953. In research progress and accomplishments: 2003–2004 (MCEER-04-SP01). University of Buffalo, State University of New York, Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, Buffalo, May 2004Google Scholar
  9. Porter M (1980) Competitive strategy. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  10. Rothwell R (1992) Industrial innovation and government environmental regulation: some lessons from the past. Technovation 12(7):447–458CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Skinner BF (1974) About behaviorism. Vintage, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Weick KE (1995) Sensemaking in organizations. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  13. Weick KE (2001) Making sense of the organization. Blackwell Publishing, AldenGoogle Scholar
  14. Williamson OE (1975) Markets and hierarchies: analysis and antitrust implications. Free Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  15. Woo G (2002) Natural catastrophe probable maximum loss. Br Actuar J 8:943–959, Part VGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Netherlands 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel J. Alesch
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lucy A. Arendt
    • 1
  • William J. Petak
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Wisconsin-Green BayGreen BayUSA
  2. 2.University of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations