Dissecting HR's Role in Disaster Preparedness and Response: A Phenomenological Approach

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The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of human resources (HR) leaders in disaster preparedness and response efforts of organizations. The study used Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory as anchor and was conducted in the Philippines – a country that regularly experiences disruptions due to disasters.


The study utilized a phenomenological approach in gathering and analyzing data from semi-structured interviews with 16 HR leaders. They hold either an executive or managerial position and belong to organizations situated in areas that have experienced disasters within the past two years. The areas are likewise prone to further experience of disasters such as flooding, earthquake and volcanic eruption as identified by international disaster watch organizations.


Results surfaced three superordinate themes that reflect the role of HR in disaster situations – (1) contributor to the business continuity plan formulation and implementation; (2) in-charge of building a disaster-resilient culture; and (3) primary unit that takes care of employee wellbeing and welfare during and post-disaster.

Practical implications

The study identified factors that can help HR in fulfilling its role of surfacing and addressing employee needs amidst disasters.


The study expands literature on strategic human resource management by describing the positioning of HR in disaster preparedness and response efforts of organizations and illustrates how HR puts focus on the human side of organizational crises management.