Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)




Dr. Robert Levasseur


Despite the increased frequency of natural and man-made disasters, there is a problem in the level of preparedness of emergency managers, responders, and citizens to address them. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to explore the factors that affect these groups' preparedness to inform the development of better emergency plans to handle emergency incidences. The conceptual framework for the study was knowledge management, which was used with a grounded theory approach. The study was guided by primary research questions that focused on understanding psychological, material, temporal, organizational, and other factors that affect the preparedness of emergency managers, first responders, and citizens, and on identifying measures for improving those levels of preparedness. Interview data were collected from a purposeful sample of emergency managers (n = 11), first responders (n = 26), and citizens (n = 26) from South Carolina who had experienced disasters. Secondary data from 6 disasters, 3 emergency operations plans, and 2 standard operating procedure guides were also collected. The constant comparative method was used to analyze data, informing the development of a theory that suggests emergency managers, first responders, and citizens must act collaboratively to prepare for and respond more effectively to disasters, in addition to their independent work. This study promotes positive social change by providing emergency management agencies with information necessary for developing better emergency preparedness plans, thus reducing the personal and economic impact of future disasters.