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Al-Dahash, H, Thayaparan, M and Kulatunga, U (2016) Understanding the Terminologies: Disaster, Crisis and Emergency. In: Chan, P W and Neilson, C J (Eds.), Proceedings 32nd Annual ARCOM Conference, 5-7 September 2016, Manchester UK. Association of Researchers in Construction Management, 1191–1200.

  • Type: Conference Proceedings
  • Keywords: Disaster Management, Crisis Management, Emergency Management, Definitions.
  • ISBN/ISSN: 978-0-9955463-0-1
  • URL: http://www.arcom.ac.uk/-docs/proceedings/9ac79958d9024495cd81e13909ed08cb.pdf
  • Abstract:


    In recent decades, the number, scope and complexity of incidents and disasters have been increased significantly. The development of strategies by organisations to deal with such incidents can be helped by understanding crises and disasters, their lifecycle and possible impacts and actions. Thus, society deems it necessary to dedicate greater attention to disaster management, crisis management, and emergency management particularly in places which are significantly at risk of hazards. Despite the fact that there is a difference between the terms disaster, crisis and emergency, they are closely interconnected, interdependent and overlapped. With a blurred line between the definitions of these terms the mainstream literature uses the terms disaster, crisis and emergency management interchangeably and in combination such as ‘disaster crisis management’ (Quarantelli, 1986) and ‘emergency and crisis management’ (Farazmand, 2001).


    The aim of this article is to systematically and critically review the arguments and counterarguments about disaster, crisis, and emergency management to date, in order to enhance the current body of knowledge in this area. A number of authors have attempted to define these terms by explaining their nature and their lifecycles. A comprehensive literature review in the relevant field has been conducted in order to improve the understanding of the phenomena. With the aid of the software- NVivo (10), a qualitative content analysis has been carried out to establish the differences and similarities between disaster, crisis and emergency management and to develop comprehensive definitions for these terms to be used in the context of disaster management. As such, the whole idea of this paper is to provide analysed data on the terms disaster, crisis and emergency management by understanding their real meanings and nature of complexity so that the usage of these terms within the mainstream literature could be improved.