NSF – SEE Proposal American Red Cross Chapter Restructuring Basic Idea: Organizational network structure and organizational performance interact, influence each other Scope: Catastrophic disaster response Problem Definition Research Questions: 1. How do we define the ARC network? Vs. the environment 2. How do we measure the network’s performance / service quality? 3. How do we optimize the ARC network for stochastic demand? a. What are the organization’s constraints? 4. How do we get the organization to form the optimal network? What are the incentives? How does the organization evolve toward the optimal? Assumption: The ARC will not do a complete redesign of the network. Rather they will reorganize in steps. 1 Definition of the American Red Cross Network The American Red Cross is a service delivery network that consists of an organizational hierarchy, chapters, trained staff, volunteers, and financial and physical resources. Headquarters Service Area Service Area Service Area Regional Chapter Regional Chapter Community Community Community Community Chapter Chapter Chapter Chapter Figure 1 Service Delivery Organization Network Each of the links in Figure 1 has multiple dimensions. From the administrative perspective, higher levels of the organizational structure have more responsibilities while lower levels interface with the public/victims directly. Fundraising activities typically occur at the community level. In a post-disaster scenario, funds flow to the affected communities. Supplies, equipment, volunteers, and trained staff are associated with the community and regional chapters. The network is spatially distributed, indicating that for a given disaster, supplies, financial resources, staff, and volunteers need to mobilize. Delays will be incurred due to time to prepare to move and travel time. The volunteer portion of the network is stochastic; the number of volunteers available at any given point in time is uncertain, as is their mobilization time. We will treat this as stochastic supply. We will work with ARC representatives to identify the details of the expanded network, including the current location of each chapter, the supplies and equipment quantities and locations, the decision-making authority of each node in the hierarchy, the skills of staff at each node, and the volunteer and financial base in each area. Through detailed conversations, we will determine how the various commodities flow through the network when the ARC responds to a major disaster. 2 Definition of the Operating Environment The environment plays a large role in the structure and performance of the network. 2.1 Catastrophic events To slightly simplify the extremely complex nature of this problem, we will focus on catastrophic events, which have a low probability of occurring but high impact when they do. The types of disasters faced by communities across the nation influence the resource allocation and staff/ volunteer skills and training. The resources and training heavily influence the chapter’s preparedness for dealing with the event and victims’ needs, which in turn, affects the service quality. Catastrophic events also damage physical infrastructure, such as the transportation and communications systems, which delays the communication of specific needs, tracking which victims have already received financial support, and transporting staff, volunteers, and materials to the disaster area. These delays degrade the performance of the network, which, in turn, affects the desirable network structure. 2.2 Interactions with Other Networks As mentioned above, the ARC network depends on the communications and transportation infrastructures. While the physical infrastructure is outside the control of the ARC, several issues are within its domain. For instance, the ARC can ensure that each chapter is equipped with multiple forms of communication (e.g. phone, ratio, and Internet) and that staff is trained to use them. From the transportation perspective, the ARC can ensure that contingency transportation plans are available. Furthermore, they can carefully locate their supply centers to ensure that multiple access points are available and that they are not sited where they are likely to be affected by the disaster. Yet, these centers should be relatively close to communities who are likely to need those supplies; greater distance implies more delay in meeting demand. These tradeoffs will be examined in this study. Aside from physical infrastructure, the ARC network also interacts with other entities, including EMS, fire, law enforcement, and federal agencies. We will work with ARC to determine the strength of working relationships with these other emergency response organizations. This is a concern because if we remove the local connections, we may have inter-agency communication issues that degrade our network performance. 2.3 ARC image Availability of critical resources for ARC, including volunteers and funding, depends also on the ARCs image and reputation. Therefore ARC image is an important part of the operating environment. This in turn depends on several factors including the performance of ARC. Therefore an interaction between ARC performance and structure are observable, where performance drives image and reputation which in turn impact resources available to enable performance. 3 Identifying and Modeling Demand for ARC Services Demand for ARC services is stochastic. The demand arises from random events which cause a random amount of damage. To further complicate the problem, populations are dynamic; however, we will ignore this factor in this initial study. The stochasticity of the population requiring service will be assumed to be correlated with the event type, impact site, and the amount of damage it causes. First we will develop a generic framework for a theoretical demand distribution and then we will work with ARC to determine the relative likelihood distributions of different disaster types in different locations and determine the disaster severity distribution to enable decision analysis in ARC based on the model. Based on their historical information, we will also identify resource needs.? 4 Measurement of the Network Performance Dynamic / stochastic? 5 Step-Wise Network Optimization Given a current network structure, identify the optimal network improvement. Organizational constraints are anticipated to prevent the network from reaching a true optimum which typically requires a complete overhaul of the network structure, but step- wise improvements will be made. We will work with ARC to identify the types of improvements that are considered acceptable (e.g. consolidating chapters, eliminating chapters). The current restructuring efforts at ARC provide a great platform to enable the impact of this research on critical disaster management operations. The optimization problem can take the following forms: Objectives: Maximize service performance Measures from (4) Network survivability / resilience Resource locations Minimize cost By Changing organization hierarchy, network structure, and spatial distribution of nodes Constrained by: Politics Organizational constraints (e.g. politics, tolerable disruption to current structure) Loss of jobs Available financial resources Fixed amount of supplies Personnel Maintaining volunteer support Not optimizing for expected demand, rather expected performance given a distribution of demand and stochastic supply of volunteers. 6 Organizational Evolution Toward the Optimal The optimization step offers guidelines for which parts of the organizational structure should be changed. However, knowing a better configuration is only one part of implementing a new structure. The planning for organizational re-configuration entails the design of incentive structures that enable such change. At this step we investigate the design of the incentives structures required to break the barriers to change and to inform the specific steps to navigate a path of low resistance to the new organizational configuration. We plan to use an agent-based model of network re-configuration process that explicitly models the critical decision-making agents and investigates the impact of different organizational and incentive structures on their motivation to follow the change initiative. Incentives Estimated time for evolution? How do we investigate the organization change?
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