Social Capital, Sensemaking, and Recovery: Japanese Companies and the 2011 Earthquake

by George Olcott, Nick Oliver



The earthquake that hit East Japan in March 2011 caused massive damage. While widespread disruption to global supply chains was predicted, production resumed with remarkable speed. This article describes how resources from the networks of damaged companies were rapidly mobilized and deployed, enabling rapid restoration of production. It uses the concepts of social capital and sensemaking to explain the speed of recovery. Social capital facilitated rapid mobilization, and strategies to build shared mental models permitted effective coordination under complex and rapidly evolving conditions. The ability to mobilize and focus resources is crucial to disaster recovery.

California Management Review

Berkeley-Haas's Premier Management Journal

Published at Berkeley Haas for more than sixty years, California Management Review seeks to share knowledge that challenges convention and shows a better way of doing business.

Learn more
Follow Us