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Title: Identifying and resolving coordinated decision making breakdowns in emergency management

Authors: Jared A. Grunwald; Chris Bearman

Addresses: Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University, 44 Greenhill Road, Wayville, South Australia, 5034, Australia; Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne, 3002, Australia ' Appleton Institute, Central Queensland University, 44 Greenhill Road, Wayville, South Australia, 5034, Australia; Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC, Melbourne, 3002, Australia

Abstract: Effective coordination is an essential part of managing large-scale emergencies. It is important for key personnel in emergency management agencies to be able to identify and resolve breakdowns in coordination quickly and effectively. This paper focuses on how this is done by Australian regional coordinators. Eleven regional coordinators from three emergency management agencies in Australia participated in individual simulated table-top emergency management exercises involving a concurrent semi-structured interview. Results indicated that two breakdown identification strategies were used: internal (information and intuition-based) and external (network). Two breakdown resolution strategies were identified: response and preparedness. Five 'response' resolution strategies were employed: delegating representatives, providing additional resources, asserting authority, mentoring staff and replacing disruptive staff. Two 'preparedness' breakdown resolution strategies were employed: preplanning and building a cooperative culture. These results contribute to our understanding of how people identify and resolve breakdowns in coordination from the position of operational oversight.

Keywords: breakdowns; disconnects; decision making; teamwork; remote response coordination; coordinated decisions; emergency management; Australia; regional coordinators; simulation; representative delegation; resource provision; authority assertion; staff mentoring; disruptive staff; breakdown resolution strategies; preplanning; cooperative culture.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEM.2017.081198

International Journal of Emergency Management, 2017 Vol.13 No.1, pp.68 - 86

Available online: 26 Dec 2016 *

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