Title: A literature review and analysis of the incident command system

Authors: Hsien-Ho Chang

Addresses: Department of Political Science, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 74075-1060, USA

Abstract: Since the establishment of the incident command system (ICS), the debates of the effectiveness of using this system have never stopped. The majority of ICS debates can be related to the discussions of using a mechanistic system or an organic system in organisational theories. Consequently, I utilise the lens of organisational theory to review the ICS research and discussions over the past decades. After conducting an extensive literature review, I find three factors contributing to different evaluations of the ICS, they are: 1) disagreement on the nature of the ICS; 2) scale of disaster; 3) the implementation of the ICS. At the end of this research, I provide three future ICS research directions: 1) focusing on the nature of this system; 2) controlling the scale of disasters that are discussed; 3) further exploring how people really implement this system on the ground.

Keywords: incident command systems; ICS; organisation theory; disaster response; emergency response; literature review; emergency management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2017.10002060

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2017 Vol.13 No.1, pp.50 - 67

Received: 17 Oct 2015
Accepted: 25 Jan 2016

Published online: 26 Dec 2016 *

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