The role of community leadership in disaster recovery projects: tsunami lessons from Japan

Yiwen Lin, Mihaela Kelemen*, Toru Kiyomiya

*Corresponding author for this work

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    While project management has been effectively applied to many fields and sectors, disaster management has yet to see its full benefits. This inductive study generates insights about the nature and role of ‘active leadership’ (LaBrosse, 2007) in the context of a community led recovery project in Minami-sanriku, Japan, an area affected by the 2011 tsunami. Community leaders displayed ‘active leadership’ evidenced in 1) the effective identification of project objectives and relevant stakeholders, 2) the efficient management of stakeholder engagement and 3) the robust understanding of the socio-cultural context in which the Nagasuka Beach Recovery Project took place. This multi-disciplinary and inductive study highlights the need to train project managers (be they community leaders or otherwise) in both technical and soft leadership skills: the former ensure that Project Management methodologies are clearly understood and applied; the latter facilitate the adaptation of these methodologies to the specific socio-cultural locales in which recovery projects take place.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)913-924
    Number of pages12
    JournalInternational Journal of Project Management
    Issue number5
    Early online date6 Oct 2016
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


    • Case study
    • Community leaders
    • Disaster recovery projects
    • Japanese culture
    • Stakeholder management
    • ‘Active leadership’
    • RCUK
    • AHRC
    • AH/K006185/1


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