Understanding Behaviour

In order to find ways of promoting better adaptation to flood risk, this part of the Sesame project focused on how floods affect small businesses, how they respond to floods, why they do/do not make changes after they become aware of flood risk, and what determines which measures, if any, they put in place to make their businesses more resilient.

We interviewed managers, staff and proprietors of recently flooded small businesses in order to understand the business- and social-processes that influence: the response to floods; the recovery process, and longer-term adaptation to flood risk (e.g. use of insurance; flood barriers; protecting customer relationships)

We worked in six case study areas: Sheffield, Tewkesbury, Swindon, Tyne & Wear, Warwickshire and The Wirral. Businesses in these areas had variously been affected by: surface water flooding and flooding from rivers, the sea or groundwater.

Findings from this research informed the design of an agent based model (see Modelling Impacts), new guidance and a digital learning tool that promotes medium to long-term adaptation (see Changing Behaviour).

Flooded shops
Sandbags being used as flooding barriers

For more information on the research into how SMEs react to imminent and actual flooding and how SMEs rebuild their businesses after flooding, please contact Dr Martina McGuinness (Sheffield University).

To learn more about the research into longer-term adaptation, contact Dr Tim Harries (Kingston University) or Professor Lindsey McEwen (University of the West of England, Bristol).

Flood levels sign partially under water