A consistent theme in crisis and disaster studies has been the opportunities embedded in situations that are most often seen as entirely negative, threatening, uncertain and harmful. These opportunities for post disaster renewal exist for individuals, organizations and communities. Psychologists have identified what is termed “post traumatic growth” as an opportunity for individuals to develop new understandings of themselves, their world, their relationships and their goals.
Organizations have the opportunity to learn from disasters and create significant changes to operations, facilities, and goals. They may also demonstrate their values and importance and develop new or enhances relationships with stakeholders. Communities can fundamentally rethink and rework services, structures, spaces and response strategies.
Disasters, then, create learning, resource and change opportunities. A factor in moving past a disaster to the opportunities is the leadership that is present and how that leader communicates and frames the disaster event. Dr. Matthew Seeger is a leading researcher investigating how post-crisis communication can facilitate opportunities for renewal.