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Epidemics and pandemics: Effects on societal and organisational resilience
The implications of a serious disease outbreak extend well beyond the disease itself. The levels of sickness and mortality, while important, can be quickly overshadowed by cascading risk implications that affect the global economy, threaten societal confidence, weaken the rule of law, present a risk to food security, and can lead to inter- and intra-state conflict. When multiple countries are concurrently impacted, the provision of life-saving and time-sensitive aid and humanitarian assistance can also be affected, leading to isolation and a domino effect of collapsing societies. When nations start from a low baseline level of resilience, then the speed of government and infrastructure failure may be swift. Resilience across every facet of government, community and business is critical if the disruptive effects of the disease and the more far-reaching effects of the fear the unseen enemy creates are to be controlled. This article describes the interconnected risks and impacts found within a pandemic crisis and how COVID-19 can impact every facet of society and business — providing the backdrop against which risk practitioners can contextualise how their respective organisations can plan for, respond to, manage, and ultimately recover from a pandemic crisis.
The full article is available to institutions that have subscribed to the journal
Michael Blyth is Chief Operations Officer for Risk and Strategic Management, Corporation, an international resilience advisory and training organisation. He has a master’s degree in security management and is currently studying for a doctorate in security and risk management. His books ‘Security and Risk Management: Protecting People and Sites Worldwide’ and ‘Business Continuity Management: Building the Incident Management Plan’ are published by Wiley and Sons. Mike has worked in dynamic and high-risk scenarios in nearly 50 countries, and directly supports strategic resilience and crisis response efforts across a wide cross-section of humanitarian, government, construction, oil and gas and IT organisations.
Simon Mallett is Head of Risk Consulting and Operations for Risk and Strategic Management, Corporation, UK. Simon is a former British Army officer and certified ISO 22301 Lead Auditor who has led the development of business continuity management systems for companies of all sizes across various sectors. He has developed and implemented business continuity plans and associated procedures for the management of serious infectious disease outbreaks, and for the deterioration of security risk environments in South Sudan, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and elsewhere.
CitationBlyth, Michael and Mallett, Simon (2020, September 1). Epidemics and pandemics: Effects on societal and organisational resilience. In the Journal of Business Continuity & Emergency Planning, Volume 14, Issue 1.