Online from: 2006
Subject Area: Management Science/Management Studies
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|Title:||Crisis during recovery: lessons from 1904 Baltimore fire|
|Author(s):||Peter B. Petersen, (Carey Business School, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA)|
|Citation:||Peter B. Petersen, (2010) "Crisis during recovery: lessons from 1904 Baltimore fire", Journal of Management History, Vol. 16 Iss: 3, pp.297 - 311|
|Keywords:||Disasters, Fire, Management history, United States of America|
|Article type:||Research paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/17511341011051216 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||Three years of full-time research and a fourth year in writing a manuscript yielded a book about the great Baltimore fire published by the Maryland Historical Society just in time for the 100th anniversary of the conflagration, which occurred on February 7 and 8, 1904. Appreciation is given to Robert I. Cottom, Publisher of the Press at the Maryland Historical Society, who kept the author focused on the book's overall story and skillfully edited the manuscript to bring out the best in the presentation without cutting necessary details. Significant in all this, Ric Cottom and the author continued discussions about the great Baltimore fire long after the second printing of the book. Indeed, a recurring topic during these discussions focused on a recovery crisis that followed the great Baltimore fire and similar current day situations when there is a recovery crisis after an initial crisis. Consequently, this article addresses the substance of these conversations as well as recent reflections.|
Purpose – A recovery crisis is an occasion when there is a subsequent calamity after a major crisis such as the recovery crisis following the 9/11 World Trade Center tragedy or the recovery crisis following the devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina. Consequently, this paper seeks to focus on what can be done to prevent or limit the ill effects of a crisis during recovery.
Design /methodology/approach – An examination of the details of the great Baltimore fire of 1904 reveals why there was a crisis during their recovery; and by studying the lessons they learned, it will be evident that some of these lessons should be considered for dealing with present day recovery crises.
Findings – While many people worked together to bring the fire under control during the great Baltimore fire many of the same people fought each other in a crisis that followed the fire during the recovery of Baltimore's 70 block business district. That is, initial passions changed abruptly from working unselfishly together for the greater good during the 30-hour fire to self-serving actions during the rebuilding of the city. In fact, the political conflict was so stressful after the fire that Baltimore's mayor committed suicide.
Practical implications – The findings of this article focus on sound measures that should be considered today.
Originality/value – The paper is an application of historical lessons learned. The experiences described in this paper can be helpful in discussions today about crisis management.
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