Understanding Repeat Disruption to Small, Minority-Owned, and Rural Businesses with Applications to Economic Diversification and Organizational Resilience in the Gulf Coast

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Investigator(s): Maria Watson, Rebekka Dudensing, Michelle Meyer, Joy Semien
Research Dates: 2020 - 2022
Affiliate Organization(s): Texas A&M University • Texas Sea Grant

The 2020 hurricane season was the most active on record and organizations on the Gulf Coast struggled against the backdrop of the pandemic and incomplete recoveries from previous climate events. Although many communities are facing compounding, concurrent, and recurring disasters, there is limited research on how these complex events impact organizations across different ownership characteristics and geographical contexts. Previous research conducted by this team in the region uncovered disparities in recovery after Hurricane Harvey along owner/manager racial lines. This study built upon and expanded the work both geographically and theoretically. It focused on several intersectional dimensions of organizational disruption and resilience: the contextual environment of the business and nonprofit in terms of rural/small town versus urban, the socio-economic vulnerability of the organization’s market and service area, and the socio-economic characteristics of the organization’s ownership and management, itself. Using findings from this research and working with SCIPP, Texas SeaGrant, Texas A&M University Agrilife Extension, and the Hazard Reduction & Recovery Center at Texas A&M University, we prepared and evaluated outreach materials on best practices for small business and nonprofits at the individual business and nonprofit, regional, and programmatic level. Organizations then applied their knowledge in workshop events where they developed recovery and continuity plans. The hope is that this research will increase organizationally resilience locally but also provide a research framework that can be more broadly generalized.

This project received funding from the National Institiute of Standards and Technology.
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