I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain: Public management and performance after a natural disaster

Kenneth J. Meier, Laurence J. O'Toole, Jr., Alisa Hicklin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Public organizations operate as open systems in settings that can be a source of difficulties for managers and for program performance. The unexpected arrival of two major hurricanes in 2005 caused widespread havoc, and some of the consequences constituted major shocks to public agencies—in particular, to public educational systems. This article assesses whether such shocks caused drops in performance, and whether organization and management contributed to a mitigation of these deleterious effects. Evidence indicates that shocks do disrupt performance but also that staff capacity and stability in street-level personnel of the organizations can reduce or eliminate these negative consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)979-1003
JournalAdministration & society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

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