To the Rescue!? Brokering a Rapid, Scaled and Customized Compassionate Response to Suffering after Disaster

Trenton A. Williams, Dean A. Shepherd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Suffering comes in many forms that significantly impact organizations’ operations and performance. As a result, recent research on compassion organizing seeks to explain how efforts to notice, feel, and respond to suffering create organizational (and societal) benefits. Widespread suffering can be generated by natural disasters, which in turn can trigger compassionate organizational responses. In this paper, we build on social capital theory to theorize about how compassionate ventures leverage network relationships to identify and mobilize resources. We also explore how differences in these approaches influence the magnitude, speed, and customization of the response, all of which are theorized indicators of the effectiveness of compassion organizing in alleviating suffering. We use structural equation modelling to test our model and find that compassionate ventures with stronger ties to the local community are more likely to bundle (i.e., stretch) resources, which facilitates a speedy, customized, and large magnitude response. In contrast, those with stronger ties outside the local community are more likely to pursue (i.e., chase) new resources, which results in a large magnitude response, but one that is not associated with speed or customization. We discuss the implications of our findings and make recommendations for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalJournal of Management Studies
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)910-942
Number of pages33
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • brokerage social capital
  • compassion organizing
  • crisis
  • entrepreneurship
  • venture resourcing


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