An Introduction to Urgent Emergency Project Management



By Prof. Dr. M.F. HARAKE

ESLI International
Graduate School of Management & Engineering



Unexpected, uncertain and uncontrollable events specially in unstable environments would require either quick project intervention or complex project adjustments. The aim of Urgent Emergency Project Management (UEPM) is to properly conduct actions in unstable and uncertain crisis-driven / unfavorable disastrous environments. The idea is to pilot operations before, during and after the event in order to arrive to a favorable situation – or at least adapt to the existing one. In other words, UEPM establishes both a proactive (vigilance) and reactive (resilient) strategic approaches to project management. The article aims to introduce Urgent Emergency Project Management (UEPM), its foundations, dynamic, planning, processes, and outcomes.

Key Words: Emergency Management, Ad Hoc Projects, Unstable Environments, Emergency, Urgency, Crisis Management, Instant Project Management

  1. Introduction

1.1 Background to Research

Historical experiences have shown us that usually, in the event of a major crisis or catastrophe, emergency projects were usually done by government agencies (most notably the army, law enforcement, and fire departments), with the support of public health and civil defense organizations (Bosher et al., 2007).

In more complex situations (e.g., war, terrorism, natural disasters, pandemics, etc.) where the state is unable to fulfill its obligations (disruption of government and other institutions) the private and associative sectors (both local, regional and international) will intervene in order to cope with the disaster and its outcomes (e.g., loss of life, property damage, etc.) (Wearne, 2002; Wearne, 2006). Due to the gravity of such events have sparked new interests in crisis management where proactive and reactive plans for urgent deployment actions must be pre-implemented into organizations to face such critical situation (Davies & Walters, 1998; Wearne, 2006):

  • The Proactive-Vigilant Approach is about contingency and is engineered based on preventive measures and precautions taken before the occurrence of unexpected and unpredicted events – with the aim to effectively minimize their outcome.
  • The Reactive-Resilient Approach usually concerns recovery response and reconstruction on all levels of the concerned impacted society.

In unstable environments, vigilance and resilience programs can be perceived as a good step when it comes to managing a crisis in case of an unfortunate event. Such contingency plans must pave the way for cooperation between different entities to plan and prepare for potential emergencies (a coalition of key agencies and bodies) to effectively manage the crisis.

Such actions of giant proportions which are called Urgent and Emergency Projects (UEP) must be implemented because natural disasters and manmade crises situations will take place inevitably despite proactive measures which are never ‘’bulletproof’’. Therefore, it becomes necessary for governments, industries and associations to strengthen the reactive process to properly respond and counteract the events and their outcomes. Such undertakings will help in the quick restauration of the socio-economic and political situation and develop a confidence in government and non-governmental institutions (both private and associative) that constitute UEP undertaking agencies (Schenker-Wicki et al., 2009). In this context, it should be noted that crises and disasters constitute development opportunities for the community (especially the vulnerable and deprived ones) as well as for the engaged entities (Dror, 1993).

1.2 Aim of the Study

The intention of this work is to investigate and provide a literary overview of the various aspects and dynamics of Urgent Emergency Project Management (UEPM).

The study attempts to address the project management challenges and obstacles (both internally and externally) that are faced during a crisis – and how such projects are managed successfully – by elaborating on the existing literature.


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How to cite this paper: Harake, M. F. (2023). An Introduction to Urgent Emergency Project Management; PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue X, October. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/10/pmwj134-Oct2023-Harake-introduction-to-urgent-emergency-project-management.pdf

About the Author

Prof. Dr. M. F. HARAKE

Poitiers, France


Prof. Dr. M. F. HARAKE is a management Professor based in France. He is currently the Director of International Academic Affairs of GIP CEI (a French Higher Education and Research Institution). He is also the Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) program manager of ESLI International – Graduate School of Management & Engineering (Paris – France) and the scientific director of the MBA DELIVERWEB at ALTERNIS Business School (Bordeaux – France). He previously served as a visiting professor at ESCE International Business School (Paris – France), Paris School of Business (Paris – France), Ascencia Business School (Paris – France), ESPRIT Business School (Tunis – Tunisia), GBSB Global Business School (Barcelona – Spain), etc.

Dr. M.F. HARAKE is a research fellow and former board member of the CEREGE Research Laboratory (University of Poitiers – France), and a visiting research fellow at CABMR Research Center (Paris – France). He is also an Honorary Academic Advisor and Research Scholar at the Project Management World Library (Austin / Texas – USA). He previously served as the Director of the CREFEGE Research Center (Paris – France). His research interests include Post-Conflict Public Management, Crisis and Urgent Operations Management, Humanitarian Logistics, and Project Management in Unstable Environments.

He can be contacted at mharake@gip-cei.com