Disaster Planning in the Age of Pandemics


The COVID-19 pandemic impacts are deep and pervasive; the far-reaching consequences are only beginning to be understood. In addition to the tragic direct impacts such as deaths and hospitalizations, indirect impacts have devastated the global economy. Supply chain disruptions, quarantine restrictions, and travel bans, as well as other factors, have resulted in a projected 5-8% contraction of the global GDP for 2020. Disaster planning and risk management are mature fields with extensive literature, yet businesses across the globe were largely unprepared to respond to this crisis due to high levels of emergent conditions. This research examines pandemic-induced crises and argues that the unique nature of these crises makes existing theories and models insufficient to help business practitioners before or during such an event. A confirmatory approach was used to develop a model of key attributes of the more successful companies. This model is supported by empirical performance data that was collected and analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM). The relatively new concept of “transiliency”, or “the ability to simultaneously restore some processes and change-often radically-others” is also discussed as a characteristic possessed by companies exhibiting better performance during the COVID-19 crisis. This research can be harnessed by engineering managers to create actionable strategies for disaster response and recovery.

Meeting Name

2021 IISE Annual Conference and Expo 2021 (2021: May 22-25, Virtual)


Engineering Management and Systems Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center

Keywords and Phrases

Disaster, planning; Structural, equation, modeling; Transiliency; Planning; Risk, management; Supply, chains; Direct, impact; Global, economies; Management, IS; Mature, fields; Planning, management; Risks, management; Structural, equation, models; Supply-chain, disruptions; Disaster, prevention

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

25 May 2021