I. Summary of the Issue: Trust and Compliance: Messaging by Government Officials versus Business* Professionals
Extreme disaster emergencies, such as the Hurricane Katrina, may burden state’s emergency operation plans when the extent of the situation strains the response plan to its maximum limit (1). When all resources are depleted, states may request a presidential disaster declaration to receive more support; yet they would be unlikely to manage such tremendous response by themselves. Partnership with private-sector such as businesses and institutions may be pivotal to fill important gaps in emergency response. Therefore, an effective emergency response should include a multidisciplinary approach and inter-organizational management from public-private partnership, like business-government partnership (2).
One good example of a business-government partnership is the collaboration that the state of Pennsylvania has with the Business Emergency Communication Network (BECON) and the Private Assets for Region Responders (PARR) (4). BECON spreads emergency alerts about threats to business and PARR provides businesses that are members “with a database of items required in the time of an emergency, including safety personnel, equipment, supplies and facilities”. These two, are also part of a business partnership between the PA Region 13 Task Force and the Pittsburgh Regional Business Coalition for Homeland Security. Furthermore, institutions such as UPMC all over the state have a strong compromise with the emergency planners and responders; which are also part of this partnership. (3).
B. Issue Description
Expanding our risk communication to businesses may bolster state’s emergency planning and response, with expertise in matters such as logistic, sophisticated programs, volunteerism and funding. On the other hand, according to a case study from Georgia, about businesses and public health collaborations in emergency preparedness, there are some challenges that these types of collaborations may have, such as cultural gaps between these two parties. These cultural gaps include motives and stereotypes that exist between each other. For instance, Governors, Public Health Officers (PHO’s) and Emergency Responders (ER’s) may have the stereotypical view that businessmen will have profit motives, while on the other side the businessmen may think that government want them to work for free, always imposing tedious regulations and that they are extremely bureaucratic. These stereotypes definitely influence their trust as partners in such important tasks.
According to researchers (1) (5) (10), businesses are usually very strict on timelines and outcomes with less money spent, while government officials are used to governmental delays. This may cause impatience and tension from the business partners and create anxiety on the other part.
Aside from the ongoing differences in perspectives, one of the troubling attributes that may beset...