Disaster management: ﬁndings
from a systematic review
Emanuele Lettieri, Cristina Masella and Giovanni Radaelli
Department of Management, Economics and Industrial Engineering,
Politecnico di Milano, Milan, Italy
Purpose – The paper aims to discuss a systematic review of the literature about disaster
management within the period 1980-2006.
Design/methodology/approach – The research protocol is based on the methodology that is
commonly used in healthcare for analysing the literature and provides a state-of-art medical discipline.
The paper presents both a descriptive analysis and a thematic analysis in order to provide a
state-of-art of international literature. The research protocol is provided in order to make transparent
the review process.
Findings – The descriptive analysis highlights the peculiarities of the literature in terms of attention
paid during the years, country of provenience and clusters of content of the selected papers. The
thematic analysis deepens the content of the papers formalising the state of art.
Research limitations/implications – The review considered only academic journals and
peer-reviewed published papers, excluding working papers and books.
Practical implications – Through both the analyses the authors argue for scholars in disaster
management speciﬁc streams for further research and for providing practitioners with a state of art of
disaster management discipline.
Originality/value – The paper is original and is aimed at translating to the disaster management
discipline the methodology of the systematic review commonly used in healthcare disciplines.
Keywords Disasters, Risk management, Defence sector
Paper type Literature review
The literature about disaster management is becoming wide and more and more
spread on different journals. Even a cursory review of literature would identify that
scholars of disaster management claim different theoretical foundations and argue
different theoretical frameworks. The deﬁnition of disaster management is also fuzzy
and disagreed on.
For the purposes of the present literature review, disaster management has been
deﬁned as the body of policy and administrative decisions, the operational activities,
the actors and technologies that pertain to the various stages of a disaster at all levels.
The present paper aims to contribute to the existing knowledge on disaster
management by reviewing its literature, through a systematic review methodology
that has been used in the medical sciences over the last 15 years (Tranﬁeld et al., 2002).
This research does not focus on a speciﬁc hazard or issue related to disaster
management, but aims to deﬁne the state of the art of the discipline. In this view, the
paper will present both the descriptive analysis and the thematic analysis. The
structure of the paper is as follows: ﬁrst, the literature review methodology is
presented; second, the descriptive ﬁndings are described; third, a state of the art about
disaster management is argued through content analysis. Finally, conclusions about
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at
Disaster Prevention and Management
Vol. 18 No. 2, 2009
q Emerald Group Publishing Limited