Efficiency in Emergency: A Perception Study of Hierarchical Versus Flat Organizational Structures for Joint Disaster Response in the Bay of Bengal Region

January-February 2023
Strategic Essay

Large-scale disasters have far-reaching impacts that transcend national borders, making a coordinated, “one region-one response” approach essential, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bay of Bengal region has recognized this need and is actively developing structures for regional cooperation, including in disaster management. However, there is a pressing need for a structural framework that enables a coordinated, multilateral, and regional response through the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).To this end, this study analyzes the benefits of flat structures over hierarchical structures in the dynamic management of disaster response when various responders, including government officials, military, NGOs, volunteers, and the community, must quickly engage, pass information, take decisions, coordinate, and collaborate to work efficiently in the chaotic post-disaster environment.