Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


French, P. Edward

Committee Member

Travis, Rick

Committee Member

Wiseman, Marty

Committee Member

Stich, Bethany

Committee Member

Goodman, Doug

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Public Policy and Administration

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Political Science and Public Administration


In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Goodman and Mann (2008) found that many locales along the Mississippi Gulf Coast did not have plans that addressed human resources (HR) issues in the aftermath of a disaster, and many vital employees were not included in the emergency planning process. The authors concluded that if involved in planning, HR managers could address typical HR issues such as compensation, retention, recruitment, and task re-orientation that become more difficult following a disaster. The purpose of this study was to examine the level of involvement of HR departments in the emergency planning process as well as the characteristics of cities that include HR personnel in this type of planning. This study highlights some of the common HR issues included in local government emergency plans as well as the characteristics of cities that have addressed these issues. A nationwide study of HR directors revealed that while most local governments include HR departments in emergency planning, the extent of this involvement varies. In addition, many HR professionals stated that some areas, such as compensation, discipline, and termination, need further attention, and that guidelines regarding important human resource issues should be established for local governments nationwide. Because this study is one of the first to examine the role of human resource professionals in local government emergency planning, it serves as a foundation for future research on the impacts of human resource involvement in emergency planning, and also for governments at all levels to consider how areas that are often daily routines may become difficult during times of crisis. Finally, this study provides a starting point for the creation of guidelines for important areas of human resource management that should be considered as local governments continue to build resilient, sustainable communities.