Emergency Media and Public Affairs
Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Emergency Media and Public Affairs

Engaging communities before an emergency: developing community capacity through social capital investment

Dr Joy Chia, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia.


As organisations engage with communities they develop social capital that adds value to their community. Social capital in the context of this paper refers to the investment of an organisation in community programs where employee involvement is central to the success of these programs. If organisations intend to engage communities in effective emergency management this paper suggests that relationships and networks need to be established that form the basis for all planning and community response including response to emergencies. A qualitative study of Australian and Canadian credit union employees’ community engagement indicated that organisations need to actively engage with their local and regional communities by giving back, volunteering and partnering with other organisations such as local hospitals, schools and non-profit organisations so they have the capacity to respond to issues and emergencies. Credit unions’ social responsiveness is fundamental to their business practice and it is the platform for community engagement and responsiveness.


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