Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics Theses

Document Type

Thesis or dissertation

Date of this Version



Submitted to the Program of Organizational Dynamics, College of Liberal and Professional Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania

Advisor: Derek O. Newberry, Ph.D.


This Capstone analyzes institutional coordination and crisis management efforts surrounding Superstorm Sandy in the New York Metropolitan Area. It argues that response and recovery efforts were inconsistent, and at times ineffective, due to the lack of utilizing a holistic and systems thinking approach. Using the Rockaway Peninsula as a fractal exemplar of the region, this document identifies ways to improve preparation, response and recovery in a resilient fashion through improving communication, establishing trust, overcoming cognitive biases, creating a greater linkage between disaster planning and emergency management, and leveraging tools such as risk analysis and needs assessments. Through institutional coordination, crisis management and organizational dynamics research; stakeholder interviews with those involved with response and recovery efforts; and comparative analysis with regional, national and international examples, it develops a set of recommendations for holistic preparation and response in a disaster event, while considering the complex political and geographic structure of the region.


superstorm sandy, resilience, institutional coordination, urban planning, crisis management, new york, new jersey, rockaway, systems thinking, holism



Date Posted: 20 October 2017