Community resilience to natural disasters: the role of disaster entrepreneurship

Martina K. Linnenluecke*, Brent McKnight

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The paper aims to examine the conditions under which disaster entrepreneurship contributes to community-level resilience. The authors define disaster entrepreneurship as attempts by the private sector to create or maintain value during and in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster by taking advantage of business opportunities and providing goods and services required by community stakeholders. Design/methodology/approach: This paper builds a typology of disaster entrepreneurial responses by drawing on the dimensions of structural expansion and role change. The authors use illustrative case examples to conceptualize how these responses improve community resilience by filling critical resource voids in the aftermath of natural disasters. Findings: The typology identifies four different disaster entrepreneurship approaches: entrepreneurial business continuity, scaling of organizational response through activating latent structures, improvising and emergence. The authors formulate proposition regarding how each of the approaches is related to community-level resilience. Practical implications: While disaster entrepreneurship can offer for-profit opportunities for engaging in community-wide disaster response and recovery efforts, firms should carefully consider the financial, legal, reputational and organizational implications of disaster entrepreneurship. Social implications: Communities should consider how best to harness disaster entrepreneurship in designing their disaster response strategies. Originality/value: This research offers a novel typology to explore the role that for-profit firms play in disaster contexts and adds to prior research which has mostly focused on government agencies, non-governmental organizations and emergency personnel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-185
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Enterprising Communities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Business
  • Community
  • Disaster
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Firm
  • Resilience


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