<p> Planning for disasters has been linked to positive outcome in the business recovery process. However, unpreparedness for disasters is prevalent in many developing countries where most small businesses do not maintain a disaster/emergency plan. Sri Lanka in recent years has experienced upsurge in natural disasters from floods, wind storms, droughts, landslides and cyclones where the majority of small businesses experienced a slow recovery. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to gain insight into the perceived barriers and challenges that small business owners in the City of Negombo (Sri Lanka) experienced when developing a disaster/emergency preparedness plan as well as factors that may motivates small businesses owners to adopt a disaster/emergency plan. The study population consists of all 1,780 small businesses located within the city of Negombo, Sri Lanka. The purposive sample included 16 small business owners for individual interviews and 11 members from business associations for three focus group discussions (each including 3-4 participants). After receiving informed consent, data were collected using semi-structured in-depth interview protocol using open ended interview questions until data saturation occurred. . To mitigate study limitations and enhance credibility of this study; prolonged engagement and persistent observation, peer debriefing, member-checking, and data triangulation, were used. The findings of this study yielded 12 distinct themes most of which were fully or partially supported by existing literature. Five themes pertaining to the barriers and challenges business owners encounter when establishing a disaster/emergency plan: lack of knowledge or know how, access to/ problems with insurance, lack of money and resources, disaster will not happen again, and it is not my responsibility. Four of the themes focused on business owners’ perceived motivators for establishing a disaster/emergency plan: reduce business losses from disasters, train staff to manage crisis situations, business continuation, and save lives. The key recommendations include local and central government authorities, (a) advocate disaster awareness to small business owners, (b) establish mechanisms for small business owners to attain relevant information to prepare for disasters, (c) provide essential resources for the small business owners to set up disaster/emergency plans, and (d) identify ways for business owners to get access to affordable and accessible disaster insurance plans.</p>
|26 April 2017
|Hewawasam Wright, Chamicha S.
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