Title: From common operating picture to situational awareness

Authors: Erna Danielsson; Aida Alvinius; Gerry Larsson

Addresses: Mid Sweden University, Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Östersund 831 25, Sweden ' National Defence College, Karlstad 651 80, Sweden ' National Defence College, Karlstad 651 80, Sweden

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to investigate what influences the formation of a common operating picture and situational awareness during collaborative efforts to deal with complex disasters. Particular focus is given to the relationship between the operating picture and situational awareness. The study was conducted using qualitative interviews and a grounded theory approach, and is based on interview data from three crisis events. The results show that the operating picture is influenced by information coming together from different sources and forming a snapshot of the event, a portrait which changes and is updated over time, while organisational belonging, role and occupationally specific knowledge provide a framework for and influence situational awareness. The results also show that the operating picture forms the basis for an occupationally specific and role-based situational awareness and its subsequent decision-making. Further studies on the relation between common operating picture, sense making and situational awareness are discussed.

Keywords: operating picture; situational awareness; emergency management; collaboration; complex disasters; disaster management; grounded theory; crisis events; decision making; sense making.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2014.061659

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2014 Vol.10 No.1, pp.28 - 47

Accepted: 02 Jan 2014
Published online: 03 Mar 2015 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article