Tourism Crises and Disasters: Enhancing Understanding of System Effects

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This article was downloaded by: [University of Chicago Library]On: 08 December 2014, At: 08:29Publisher: RoutledgeInforma Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UKJournal of Travel & Tourism MarketingPublication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wttm20Tourism Crises and Disasters: Enhancing Understandingof System EffectsNoel Scott a & Eric Laws ba School of Tourism and Leisure Management, University of Queensland , Ipswich, Australiab Tourism Department , School of Business, James Cook University , USAPublished online: 10 Oct 2008.To cite this article: Noel Scott & Eric Laws (2005) Tourism Crises and Disasters: Enhancing Understanding of System Effects,Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 19:2-3, 149-158, DOI: 10.1300/J073v19n02_12To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J073v19n02_12PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLETaylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content) containedin the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make norepresentations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of theContent. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, andare not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon andshould be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable forany losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoeveror howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use ofthe Content.This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematicreproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in anyform to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/loi/wttm20http://www.tandfonline.com/action/showCitFormats?doi=10.1300/J073v19n02_12http://dx.doi.org/10.1300/J073v19n02_12http://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionshttp://www.tandfonline.com/page/terms-and-conditionsTourism Crises and Disasters:Enhancing Understanding of System EffectsNoel ScottEric LawsSUMMARY. This paper examines the definitions and conceptual foundations of crises and distin-guishes between crises and disasters. It takes a systems view of these concepts and uses the per-spective of systems as organizational networks to examine implications for tourism managers. Atourism destination is perceived as consisting of a network of interacting organizations. This per-spective questions the boundaries that should be used to study crisis and disasters. The paper alsodiscusses the possibility of a crisis having a positive outcome for a destination. [Article copiesavailable for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH. E-mail address: Website: 2005 by The HaworthPress, Inc. All rights reserved.]KEYWORDS. Crisis, disaster, normality, crisis management, social network analysisINTRODUCTIONCrises and disasters attract attention by theirunusual, unexpected or severe nature. News ofa plane crash or terrorist attack becomes front-page headlines in newspapers around the world,and may be discussed in company board roomsand by government agencies concerned to avoidor minimise similar occurrences. Typically, aresponse is developed to the particular crisis,and it passes. Viewing a crisis in this mannerleads to a focus in policy making literature onthe randomness of crises and disasters and theneed therefore to develop plans to better man-age these unpredictable events.It is argued here that this focus on the crisisphenomena is often to the exclusion of attentionto the effects on the system. By this we meanthat, following the ideas of systems theory (VonBertalanffy, 1950; Carlson, 1999; Scott & Laws,2004), tourism activity involves the interactionsof organizations, people and events in a variety ofsubsystems. By better defining and conceptualiz-ing these interactions, it may be possible to betterdeal with the apparent randomness of individualevents through an analysis of the comparable ef-fects of a range of crises. To better examine thisidea, there is a need to examine the systemic ef-fects of these events as well as the phenomenonof the crises and disasters themselves.Noel Scott is affiliated with the School of Tourism and Leisure Management, University of Queensland,Ipswich, Australia (E-mail: noel.scott@uq.edu.au). Eric Laws is Visiting Professor of Tourism in the School ofBusiness Tourism Department, James Cook University (E-mail: e.laws@runbox.com).[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: Tourism Crises and Disasters: Enhancing Understanding of System Effects. Scott, Noel, and Eric Laws.Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing (The Haworth Hospitality Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.)Vol. 19, No. 2/3, 2005, pp. 149-158; and: Tourism Crises: Management Responses and Theoretical Insight (ed: Eric Laws, and Bruce Prideaux)The Haworth Hospitality Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2005, pp. 149-158. Single or multiple copies of this article are available fora fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: docdelivery@haworthpress.com].Available online at http://www.haworthpress.com/web/JTTM 2005 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.doi:10.1300/J073v19n02_12 149Downloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 Crisis events such as SARS, September 11and the Gulf War are now global phenomena.The implications and effects of such crises gowell beyond the immediate impact of the cri-sis. This is a result of increasingly integratedglobal communications and the interdepen-dence of tourism companies, transport sys-tems, and is now an accepted part of peoplesperceptions of the world around them. As a re-sult, this paper explores an emergent perspec-tive on crises that may help analysts examineand understand these external interactionsand effects.This perspective of focusing on system ef-fects is considered useful as it highlights an-other range of effects or impacts of crises thathave not been sufficiently recognised withinthe tourism literature. These include the ideaof system resilience, of change in system statesand in improvements or degeneration in theoverall system of tourism as a result of a crisis.These ideas were identified and explored inthe work of the late Bill Faulkner, particularlyin a paper using floods in Katherine Gorge,Australia as a case study examining how a di-saster may lead to a positive change in a desti-nations tourism (Faulkner & Vikulov, 2001).The present paper examines the concept ofsystem effects and change in system states. Itprovides a characterization of the literature ofcrises and disasters in tourism and these setsthis literature within the theory of systems. Itthen examines a number of concepts and ideasthat are derived from this strategic and sys-temic perspective. Such a systems approach isdistinct from a number of the other disciplin-ary approaches that have been used, as will bediscussed below.THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVESON CRISESOne of the reasons so little progress hasbeen made in the advancing of our un-derstanding of tourism disasters is thelimited development of the theoretical andconceptual frameworks required to un-derpin the analysis of this phenomena.(Faulkner, 2001:136)The current literature on crises is character-ised by a number of disciplinary approaches(Pearson & Clair, 1998). These include thepsychological, socio-political and technologi-cal-structural perspectives. The first two ofthese perspectives focus on the individual orsocial elements of a crisis. In the tourism liter-ature examples are the management of crisesthrough communication (Henderson, 2003) orthe differences in perceptions of hotel manag-ers and guests (Drabek, 2000).The third, technological-structural, perspec-tive is based on the idea of socio-technical sys-tems. Here, technology and social systems (reg-ulations, procedures, norms) are seen to interactto create complexity that may increase (or de-crease) the probability of a crisis or disaster(Perrow, 1984). Characteristics of the system asa whole such as tight coupling of subsystemsand interactive complexity are considered to in-crease the probability of a crisis. Examples in-clude the interaction of two failures in a complexsituation such as in the Challenger Space Shuttledisaster. Here a technical failure was compoundedby the social norms and values within the man-agement.In these approaches, the crisis itself is seenas the unit of analysis. The focus is on theevents leading up the crisis which then resultsin a perturbation of the normal state, followedby a restoration of the normal situation. Forexample, Pearson and Clair (1998:6), in theirreview of different perspectives on the studyof crises and development of propositions forfurther study, discuss the outcome of a crisisas a system being restored to its normal stateIn particular the socio-technical perspectiveon crises views the crisis as distinct from theremainder of the environment.An alternative analysis views the crisis situ-ation as set within a wider system and uses thiswider system as the unit of analysis. Here thesystem is seen in dynamic balance. Any effecton one part of the system may have an effecton other parts. This perspective is evident inthe analysis of tourism distribution channels(Laws & Cooper, 1998; Buhalis, 2000). Herethe interdependencies of organizations along adistribution chain have been examined. Forexample, a National Tourist Organisation mightbenefit from tour operator or airline advertis-ing which feature it as a destination. Similarly,150 TOURISM CRISES: MANAGEMENT RESPONSES AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTDownloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 a tour operator often requires the travel retail-ers with which it trades to have staff trained inits systems and products so that the majority ofclient inquiries can be handled at the agencylevel, rather than by the tour operators staff;this also encourages agency staff to sell a par-ticular operators products as they are more fa-miliar with both its holidays and its reserva-tions procedures.Similarly, Britton (Britton & Clarke, 1987:132-134) draws on dependency theory to ex-amine the influence that metropolitan basedcorporations exert over the nature of tourismdevelopment in small Pacific island nations.He documented how they are emeshed in aglobal tourism system over which they have lit-tle or no influence . . . advertising strategiesshape tourist expectationsleading visitors toseek the types of experiences and facilities as-sociated with mass tourism . . . (small govern-ment) turn to companies to provide the neces-sary capital to finance large scale hotels andtrain staff. The ability of these to offer largecommissions to overseas tour operators alsoenables them to gain control over various sec-tors of tourist industries. Profits often flow tooverseas corporations and local elites. Smallscale, locally owned enterprises are either rele-gated to activities which lie beyond the imme-diate interests of larger corporations, or findroles as subcontractors. The final outcome is aform of tourism that primarily satisfies thecommercial interests of overseas concerns andonly partially meets local development needs.This perspective focuses attention on thepolitics of networks and relative power. It sug-gests the formation of alliances to avoid or ad-dress problems. From this perspective the out-come of a crisis may not be a return to anormal situation, or, even if the particularcomponent of the system that experiences acrisis does return to normal, other parts of thesystem may have changed. Within the tourismliterature one example of such a result is givenby Dombey (2003) who notes the effects ofthe SARS crisis has led to changes in the travelbehaviour of the Chinese population.A related systemic approach is to comparethe effect of different crises (McKercher &Chon, 2004). Here the system as the unit ofanalysis allows the comparison of various shocks(SARS, Y2K) in terms of their effect on tour-ism in Hong Kong. In this alternative systemsperspective, change in a system may be ex-pected and crises are one way for a system tochange. As a consequence, the idea that thingsreturn to normal after a crisis is not a given.DISCUSSION OF THE DIFFERENCEBETWEEN CRISIS AND DISASTERIn order to pursue the idea of an alternativetheoretical approach to crisis situations this pa-per will now examine the definitions of theterms crisis and disaster. A clear distinction be-tween crisis and disaster will highlight the theo-retical concepts underpinning these terms andhence allow alternatives to be more easily un-derstood. In addition, the recent usage of theterms crisis and disasters in tourism have variedsomewhat from prior literature and the nextsection will attempt to provide a basis for a con-sensus on a typology for future researchers.Recently, crisis and disasters have been ex-amined and defined by Faulkner (Faulkner,2001). He considers a crisis as an event wherethe root cause of the situation is to some ex-tent self-inflicted through problems such as in-ept management structures and practices or afailure to adapt to change. A disaster refersto situations where an enterprise (or collec-tion of enterprises in the case of a tourist desti-nation) is confronted with sudden unpredict-able and catastrophic change over which it haslittle control.Faulkners definitions of crisis and disaster arebased on the idea of non-adaptation to change andrandom events, a view consistent with relatedwork on triggers and chaos (Russell & Faulk-ner, 1999; Faulkner & Russell, 2001; Faulkner &Vikulov, 2001). The definition of crisis impliesinteraction of a human entity (person, organiza-tion or society) with an event. This appears con-sistent with the view of other authors where alldefinitions shown in Table 1 relate an event to anorganization. Similarly, his definition of disasteris similar to that of most other authors. There issome disagreement in the literature though withthe definition of a disaster as a collective stresssituation (Quarantelli, 1988) stressing the humanperception dimension rather than the magnitudeof impact of the event. Importantly, this definitiondoes not define disasters in terms of naturalNoel Scott and Eric Laws 151Downloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 events but rather in terms of its catastrophic na-ture. The former idea of defining disasters interms of natural disasters has been attributed togovernment concern and initiatives (Murphy &Bayley, 1989). While it may be more likely that anatural event is a disaster, as has been notedabove, events such as the Chernobyl reactor melt-down or a terrorist bombing may be considereddisasters.As a result of this discussion, the usage inthis paper of the terms crisis and disaster are asfollows. The term crisis refers to a humanview of a shock event. This event may be posi-tive or negative in effect on a system. A posi-tive event is an opportunity for the organisa-tion or destination, while a negative event is animmediate threat. A disaster is a negative cata-strophic event that affects a system. Shockevents (but especially disasters) are managedusing crisis management techniques (Barton,1994). There are different types of disasterssuch as conflict and consensus types of disas-ters (Quarantelli, 1988). A conflict type of di-saster is one where no collective response tothe event is possible (i.e., a transport strike),whereas a consensus disaster may be a naturaldisaster.These concepts are illustrated in the follow-ing figure. In Figure 1, a system path mea-sured on some variable shown on the vertical152 TOURISM CRISES: MANAGEMENT RESPONSES AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTTABLE 1. Definitions of Terms Crisis and DisasterTerm Definition SourceCrisis an event where the root cause of the situation is to some extentself-inflicted through problems such as inept management struc-tures and practices or a failure to adapt to change(Faulkner, 2001)crises are the possible but unexpected result of management fail-ures that are concerned with the future course of events set inmotion by human action or inaction precipitating the event(Prideaux et al., 2003)a low probability high impact event that threatens the viability ofthe (entity) and is characterised by ambiguity of cause, effect andmeans of resolution as well as by the belief that decisions need tobe made quickly(Pearson & Clair, 1998)crises are disruptive situations affecting an organization or givensystem as a whole and challenging previously held basis assump-tions; they often require urgent and novel decisions and actions,leading potentially to a later restructuring of both the affected sys-tem and the basic assumptions made by the system's members(Pauchant & Douville, 1993)a situation which is harmful and disruptive (versus a turning pointor an opportunity); is of high magnitude (versus a threat or a prob-lem); is sudden, acute and demands a timely response (versusdecline) and is outside the firm's typical operating frameworks(versus routine such as fire to firefighters)(Reilly, 1993)an organizationally based disaster (Preble, 1997)any action or failure to act that interferes with an (organisation's)ongoing functions, the acceptable attainment of its objectives, itsviability or survival, or that has a detrimental personal effect asperceived by the majority of its employees, clients or constituentsSelbst (1978) discussed in (Faulkner,2001)Disaster situations where an enterprise (or collection of enterprises in thecase of a tourist destination) is confronted with sudden unpredict-able a catastrophic change over which it has little control(Faulkner, 2001)disasters are unpredictable catastrophic change that can normallyonly be responded to after the event, either by deploying contin-gency plans already in place or through reactive response(Prideaux et al., 2003)an event, natural or man-made, sudden or progressive, which im-pacts with such severity that the affected community has to re-spond by taking exceptional measures(Carter, 1991)a collective stress situation (Quarantelli, 1988)any sudden, random or great misfortune (Murphy & Bayley, 1989)Source: Various authors.Downloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 axis (say destination visitor numbers) is tracedwith the solid line over time (horizontal axis).The system is subject to three shock events (A,B and C). The system follows a trend linemarked as a dotted line. Event A is a negativeshock event while B is a positive shock event.After both A and B the system returns to itsinitial trend line. At C, the system is subject toa disaster and a crisis period ensues. The sys-tem returns to a new level (D) that is above thetrend line.DELINEATION OF A CRISISAND NORMALITYGeneral theories of crisis management as-sume that events move through a series ofstages (pre-crisis, crisis and post-crisis) withaction sometimes possible to avert a final cri-sis (Henderson, 2003). Turner (1976) identi-fies six such stages, commencing with a no-tionally normal starting point that has twosignificant characteristics. These are cultur-ally shared beliefs about the world and itshazards, and associated precautionary normsenshrined in laws and codes of practice. Eventsfor which accepted beliefs about hazards andthe norms for their avoidance cannot copewith occur during a crisis incubation period.The third stage is a precipitating event whichtransforms general perceptions and leads tocrisis onset. At this stage, the immediate con-sequences of the collapse of cultural precau-tions become apparent. Recovery from thecrisis occurs in two further stages in Turnersmodel. During rescue and salvage the imme-diate post-collapse problems are recognizedin ad hoc adjustments which permit the workof rescue and salvage to be started. The sixthstage is full cultural readjustment: during thisstage, an inquiry or assessment is carried outand beliefs and precautionary norms are ad-justed to fit the newly gained understandingof the world (Turner,1976, p. 381).Noel Scott and Eric Laws 153Magnitude andDirection ofshock tosystemExtremePositiveExtremeNegativeShock eventsA B CDOpportunity periodSystem pathSystemtrendDisaster level shock Disaster periodTimeFIGURE 1. Illustration of Concepts Related to Crises and DisastersDownloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 This idea of stages follows from the view ofthe crisis as dividing time into a before and af-ter. Huang and Min (2002), for example, indi-cate that government intervention led to therapid recovery in tourism numbers from anearthquake in Taiwan. This perspective ap-pears associated with the idea of the crisis hav-ing a distinct start and finish and the end of thecrisis is defined by a return to normality. Herenormality means a return to the state prior tothe crisis.The alternative systems perspective is basedon the idea of an evolving system where (grad-ual) change is endemic and a crisis may lead tofundamentally different states and a return tonormality is not necessarily the required (oreven desired) endpoint. Here a crisis is seen asthe result of one form of change and the effectsof a crisis are not confined only to its immedi-ate temporal or geographical vicinity. Thesechanges may be positive or negative but cer-tainly the subsequent system may be differentfrom the preceding one, and importantly, thechanges were not planned in the strategicmanagement of the organisation. In these termsthe effect of a disaster as a catastrophic changeevent is much more likely to trigger a changeof state than other lesser events. This per-spective is presented in the case study of aflooding disaster in Katherine Gorge in theNorthern Territory of Australia (Faulkner &Vikulov, 2001) previously referred to. Herethe disaster is seen as leading to the opportu-nity to change the quality of accommodationand other infrastructure in the tourism sector.Similarly, Burstein (1991) has also noted thefocusing effect of a crisis on government agendaand resultant post-crisis opportunities in a studyof policy agenda setting.CRISIS MANAGEMENTFollowing the convention and style employedin Figure 1, the effect of crisis management is il-lustrated in Figure 2. In this illustration, a disas-ter level shock event is experienced by the sys-tem and various outcomes are shown by pathsA-D. In A the path experienced by the systemwithout active management is shown. The sys-tem returns to equilibrium after a short period. InB the system is actively managed and as a resultthe overall magnitude of the system effect islessened. However, in C and D the effect of ac-tive management is to worsen the crisis leadingto extension of the deviation from the trend linefor the system path.An example is the serious reduction in visitorarrivals often experienced by destinations fol-lowing an economic crisis in the origin country,which happened as the Asian Economic melt-down of the late 1990s deepened and spread.However, in Queensland, Australia this promptedthe Government of the day to become more in-volved in tourism. If this had not occurred thenthe effect on tourism of the Asian Crisis mayhave been more profound (line C or D). Instead,additional funding and a refocusing of efforts ledto development of new markets and stimulationof traditional ones (line B).ORGANIZATIONAL NETWORKDIMENSION OF CRISESAND DISASTERSGiven this conceptualization of crises and di-sasters in terms of a systems view, we are now ina position to consider the implications of viewingtourism networks as systems. An organizationalnetwork is a set of interacting organizations thatexchange information, share customers, or ex-change resources. Tourism involves many com-panies involved in transport, accommodation,attractions, etc., working together to produce aproduct. This view of tourism views tourismdestinations as involving interacting networks ofsuppliers of services (Scott & Laws, 2004) thatchange over time. The achievement of an entre-preneur for example can be understood as creat-ing new networks of organizations that service anew product market or niche within a destination.The concept of organizational networks origi-nated in the early sociological writings of Simmel(1908) and social anthropological work of Rad-cliffe Brown (1935). These writers developed astructural view on social interaction which high-lights the importance of social organizations, rela-tionships and interactions in influencing individ-ual decisions. Structures are recurring patterns ofsocial relations (Thatcher, 1998). This view maybe contrasted with a rationalist perspective thatfocuses on the attributes and actions of individu-154 TOURISM CRISES: MANAGEMENT RESPONSES AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTDownloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 als or organizations (Brinton Milward & Provan,1998).Social network analysis seeks to define andquantify these relationships. The work of Moreno(1934) indicated that social configurations haddefinite structures which could be described insociograms to visualise the flow of informationbetween organizations or the friendships betweenindividuals. This led to the development of graphtheory where the relationships between individu-als in groups are represented as points and linesand the resulting patterns are described. Later de-velopments led to the identification of groups ofindividuals with similar patterns of relationships(blockmodels) and to the use of statistical meth-ods such as multidimensional scaling to trans-form relationships into social distance and mapthem in social space. Social network analysis re-lates the relationships of the individual to the pat-tern of the network, and provides insight into theinteractions between the two (Stokman, 2002).Social network analysis is philosophically relatedto systems theory (Boulding, 1956), where theproperties of the system are derived from the in-teraction of many components.Social network analysis delivers a number ofuseful outcomes. It provides a means of visual-izing complex sets of relationships and simpli-fying them and is therefore useful in promotingeffective collaboration within a group, support-ing critical junctures in networks that crossfunctional, hierarchical, or geographic bound-aries; and ensuring integration within groupsfollowing strategic restructuring initiatives (Crosset al., 2002). The use of standard methods andquestions enables networks of relationships tobe compared between regions or over time,thus allowing the study of dynamic situations.A more ambitious aim of is to offer a structuralanalysis and suggestions for improving net-work characteristics such as communicationflows. As a result, social network analysis over-laps and informs the study of inter-organiza-tional collaboration and cooperation, networksand strategic alliances. It has been used in stud-ies of inter-organizational relationships and inthe development of policy (Tyler & Dinan,2001; Coleman, 2002; Pforr, 2002). A socialnetwork has been defined as a specific set oflinkages among a defined set of persons, withNoel Scott and Eric Laws 155ExtremePositiveMagnitude andDirection ofshock tosystemExtremeNegativeShock eventAB CDSystemtrendDisaster periodTimeFIGURE 2. Illustration of Different Outcomes from Management of CrisesDownloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 the additional property that the characteristicsof these linkages as a whole may be used to in-terpret the social behaviour of the persons in-volved (Mitchell, 1969).From this social network perspective, thetourism system is a network of organizationsand the effect of a disaster is to place stress onthese relationships. This stress is also systemicto some extent such that impact of a disasteron one organization or destination may in turnlead to a knock-on effect on others. One rea-son for this is that competition between com-panies and destinations is intense and the ef-fect of disaster in one destination will have aneffect on related destinations. Thus the effectof SARS on Australian tourism destinationswas to reduce international visitor numbersbut to boost domestic visitors to the Gold Coast.As a result, some operators on the Gold Coastexperienced a bumper Christmas holiday pe-riod. A number of authors have examined theeffect of a crisis on organizations outside theinitial crisis area. Litvin and Alderson (2003),for example, examine the effect of the 9/11crisis on the Charleston Convention and Visi-tors Bureau. Here effective management wasable to avert the full extent of the impact byswitching promotion expenditure to differentmarkets.This view of the effect of a crisis on the des-tination conceptualized as a network of orga-nizations is shown in Figure 3. Here a crisisleads a set of organizations with existing rela-tionships to become more networked.A related view is that the nature of other re-lationship types such as cooperation and alli-ances between stakeholders is important inminimizing or averting the effects of a disasterthrough better crisis management (Pearson &Clair, 1998). This view is related to a manage-ment approach of scanning for problems andavoiding or minimizing their impact. But it isalso related to the idea that a network of orga-nizations that cooperate together may be ableto better manage the effects of a crisis. This ap-proach, similar to the socio-technical systemsperspective, has been examined in a study ofsocial networks and a crisis in the constructionsector (Loosemore, 1998).IMPLICATIONSFOR STUDYING CRISESAND DISASTERSThe above discussion has conceptualizedthe study of crises and disasters firstly by ex-amining their definitions and secondly by us-ing a view of tourism systems as networks oforganizations. Three implications of this arediscussed here. Firstly, this systems viewquestions the boundaries that should be usedto study crisis and disasters. Secondly, a socialnetworks view provides a different perspec-tive of the effect of crises and disasters by fo-cusing on the interactions between organiza-tions. Thirdly, the idea of a positive effect of acrisis is discussed.The first implication is that the effects of acrisis may be transferred across system bound-aries by organizational relationships. For ex-ample a baggage strike at one airport may delaypassengers, lead to costs to airlines in accom-modating passengers and moving luggage andrescheduling flights, lead to extra stress for air-port staff, local congestion. However, it mayalso have knock on effects at distant airportsand lead to a loss of business to hotels in thatdestination.Here, systems perspectives can help iden-tify the range of stakeholders involved, andlead to a study of factors influencing speed ofrecovery, the intensity of effects and the fac-tors causing breadth of effect (i.e., on otherstakeholders).156 TOURISM CRISES: MANAGEMENT RESPONSES AND THEORETICAL INSIGHTDestinationboundary OrganizationRelationshipCrisisFIGURE 3. Conceptualization of the Effect of a Cri-sis on a Destination SystemDownloaded by [University of Chicago Library] at 08:29 08 December 2014 Finally, the effects of a crisis may be to pro-duce an altered trend path. Destinations as net-works of stakeholders may be reconfigured intomore efficient structures by a crisis. This isslightly different to the view of Faulkner andVikulov (2001), who suggested a disaster mayhave a positive outcome but this was primarilydue to new infrastructure. However, crises mayalso lead to more cohesive industry wide orcommunity wide response mechanisms, betterinformation flows and indeed the developmentof new organizational structures (Quarantelli,1988). This emphasises the flow of informationas a critical issue in crisis management andleads to the idea of social network analysis as ameans of analysing the structure of this flow.DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONSThis paper has examined the concept of cri-ses and disasters from a systems theory per-spective. This view differs from the majority ofprior literature in that it emphasises intercon-nection, dynamic disequilibrium and changerather than an internal/external return to nor-mal perspective. It is similar to the socio-tech-nical perspective on crises but changes the fo-cus to the system as the unit of analysis.This perspective appears useful in tourismwhich is an interconnected and systemic phe-nomenon. It focuses attention on understand-ing the potential positive and negative effectsof crises beyond the focal area. This may helpdestinations consider risks and potential ofvarious possible crises.It also focuses attention on the need to de-velop more effective theoretical tools for exami-nation of crises, and to adopt more precise termi-nology in describing crisis events. One conceptthat may be useful in exploring crises and disas-ters is that of resilience. An interesting feature ofmodern tourism is that reports of its death hasbeen somewhat exaggerated. Mass tourism isalive and well, surviving many disasters and cri-ses. It may be useful to study the reasons for thisresilience and it is suggested here that organiza-tional network analysis may be a useful ap-proach.REFERENCESBarton, L. (1994). Crisis Management: Preparing forand managing disasters. Cornell Hotel and Restau-rant Administration Quarterly, 35(2), 59-65.Boulding, K. E. (1956). 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