Track 1: Network Theory

Long Papers


Organizing for the Big One – A Review of Case Studies on Multi-Agency Disaster Response and a Research Agenda

Norbert Steigenberger


Disaster response operations exceed the capacities of each single organization and thus require cooperation by at least two, often up to some hundred agencies who do seldom interact in their daily operations. The result is a complex problem of cognition, coordination, command and control. This paper presents a review of empirical studies on multi-agency coordination in disaster response operations in order to initiate and facilitate cross-case learning. The review covers 72 empirical studies and highlights the importance of themes such as plans and plan enactment, leadership or personal acquaintance of actors in emergent multi-agency response networks. The analysis also shows that while some themes received extensive coverage in scholarly publications (e.g. training, skills), various important topics have not been studied in sufficient depth (e.g. development of common operational pictures, plan enactment). Based on these insights, the review develops a research agenda and derives various recommendations for practical disaster response management.

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Short Papers


Recognizing Competitive Cultures: A case for describing the complexity of coordination between dynamic crisis response actors

John Sabou, Nadia Noori, Jerri Husch


Crisis management frameworks are typically associated with concepts related to command and control or “hierarchical” decision-making. However, advancements in communication technologies and new media platforms have brought new prospects to the design of crisis management frameworks. Social media platforms, for example, enable volunteering citizens to actively take part in crisis response efforts. In our paper we explore comparing and contrasting two forms of crisis management frameworks: a formal, the well-tested Incident Command System of the US, and an informal example, the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) program. The goal of the paper is to outline potential ways to examine the disparities in network structure and collaboration linkages in different forms of crisis management frameworks.

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Four Archetypal Networked Organisations

Willem Treurniet, Kim van Buul


Complex and multifaceted problems such as emergencies typically require coordinated effort by a network of different organisations. These networks typically rely less on formal hierarchical structures and instead have a stronger focus on allowing the dynamics to emerge in the process of collaboration. A balance has to be achieved between the internal dynamics of the various member organisations that make up the network on the one hand, and the emerging dynamics of the network collaboration itself on the other – and the precise nature of this balance will depend on the context. To help those making decision on how to achieve that balance, we have developed a framework describing four archetypal networked organisations: fragmented, deconflicted, coordinated, and collaborative and agile. The four archetypes have two purposes. Firstly, they can be used to guide networked organisations as they adapt to changing administrative and societal contexts. Secondly, they can be used to express the dynamics of the development of a response organisation in a particular emergency situation.

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A collaboration platform for data sharing among heterogeneous relief organizations for disaster management

Marcello Cinque, Christian Esposito, Mario Fiorentino, Francisco Jose Perez Carrasco


Recently, we are witnessing the progressive increase in the occurrence of large-scale disasters, characterized by an overwhelming scale and number of causalities. After 72 hours from the disaster occurrence, the damaged area is interested by assessment, reconstruction and recovery actions from several heterogeneous organizations, which need to collaborate and being orchestrated by a centralized authority. This situation requires an effective data sharing by means of a proper middleware platform able to let such organizations to interoperate despite of their differences. Although international organizations have defined collaboration frameworks at the higher level, there is no ICT supporting platform at operational level able to realize the data sharing demanded by such collaborative frameworks. This work proposes a layered architecture and a preliminary implementation of such a middleware for messaging, data and knowledge management. We also illustrate a demonstration of the usability of such an implementation, so as to show the achievable interoperability.

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