Title: Tightly coupled governance for loosely coupled wicked problems: the train explosion in Lac-Mégantic case

Authors: Marie-Christine Therrien; Anais Valiquette-L'Heureux; Julie-Maude Normandin; Pernelle Smits

Addresses: École nationale d'administration publique 4750 rue Henri-Julien, Montréal, Québec, H2T 3E5, Canada ' École nationale d'administration publique 4750 rue Henri-Julien, Montréal, Québec, H2T 3E5, Canada ' École nationale d'administration publique 4750 rue Henri-Julien, Montréal, Québec, H2T 3E5, Canada ' Université Laval and École nationale d'administration publique, Pavillon Palasis-Prince, 2325, rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada

Abstract: Risk management is based on a network of actors, interdependent of each other where the decisions will impact the actions of the others. One danger is then loosely coupled governance where the lack of coordination, overlaps and discontinuities create vulnerabilities leading to crisis situations. The analysis of the train derailment in Lac-Mégantic shows how the complexity of wicked problems led to the crisis. To analyse the complexity and interdependence of actors and issues three narratives are used: network governance, sensemaking and risk regulation regime. Finally, strategies are proposed to reflect on unlocking opportunities for action.

Keywords: wicked problems; crisis management; emergency management; complexity; loosely coupled governance; risk management; network governance; sensemaking; coordination; overlaps; discontinuities; vulnerabilities; train derailment; risk regulation.

DOI: 10.1504/IJRAM.2016.079606

International Journal of Risk Assessment and Management, 2016 Vol.19 No.4, pp.260 - 277

Available online: 27 Sep 2016 *

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