Track 14: Understanding Collaborative Work Practices


Long Papers


 

Maintaining and Creating Social Infrastructures: Towards a Theory of Resilience

Bryan Semaan, Jeff Hemsley

ABSTRACT

Societies rely on the social infrastructure for proper societal function. When crises emerge, the importance of the social infrastructure magnifies as people often rely on others, both known and unknown, for support. For citizens experiencing a war environment, however, societal trust can be affected and we show how technologies are used to maintain and create social infrastructures for resilience. Through interviews with 45 Iraqi civilians who had lived through the 2nd Gulf War, we found that people were able to evoke the social infrastructure through technological resources to maintain practices for work, to obtain goods and services, and to receive contextual support. We then theorize properties of social infrastructure that could be developed into affordances for new technologies to promote resilience during crises.

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Examining the Role of Human and Technical Infrastructure during Emergency Response

John J. Robinson, Jim Maddock, Kate Starbird

ABSTRACT

Infrastructures—both technical and human—are critical components of emergency response, helping to facilitate and shape both formal work practices and the improvisational work that individuals and organizations take part in as they address emergent challenges during unpredictable events. This research explores the relationships between infrastructure and collaborative work in this context, at a time when the infrastructures themselves are rapidly changing and/or under pressure to change due to the introduction of new technology. We interviewed 17 emergency workers from region that had recently experienced a major emergency response. These interviews illuminate weaknesses in some of the systems designed to support the information and communication needs of emergency workers, and demonstrate emergency workers assembling their own ICT infrastructures using familiar off-the-shelf tools like social media platforms and shared Google documents. These findings also highlight the importance of human infrastructure in supporting improvisation and collaboration among emergency workers.

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Short Papers


 

Inter-organizational Resource Coordination between NGOs in emergency responses

Muriel Dufour

ABSTRACT

Resource coordination between NGOs is crucial to have efficient emergency responses. Information Systems (IS) are a tool facilitating resource transfers, information exchanges, and resource coordination between organizations. They cannot be efficient if they are not adapted to fundamental problems of crisis management and specifically to resource coordination processes. This paper explores the operational aspect of resource transfer processes, the intensity of resource coordination between NGOs, and the characteristics an IS, as a support to those processes, must have to improve the resource coordination. Sixty-five in-depth interviews, documentation, and on-site observations in Chile with 13 NGOs chosen for their diversity allowed identifying different categories of processes. A mixed-transformative approach being used, intensity scores were assigned to processes and global scores were calculated for NGOs, based on their processes. A brief discussion follows on how information systems should be adapted to help these processes to increase coordination intensity.

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On the Impacts of Utilizing Smartphones on Organizing Rescue Teams and Evacuation Procedures

Parvaneh Sarshar, Jaziar Radianti, Jose J. Gonzalez

ABSTRACT

A serious fire game with two different scenarios for the search and rescue (SAR) operation was designed and played. In the first scenario, the SAR operation was performed without any smartphone app assistance, while in the second scenario, our recently developed smartphone app was employed to carry out the evacuation. In this paper, the effects of utilizing this app on organizing firefighting teams, performance of the firefighters, and the evacuation procedure are studied. The results collected from a post-game questionnaire, which was answered by the players of the firefighter role, are analyzed, turning out that the employment of the smartphone app is not only preferable and effective, but also user-friendly. It is also shown that a semi-centralized firefighting organizational model suits the second scenario, whereas a decentralized one is typically used in other scenarios, such as the first one.

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Airport security checkpoints: an empirically-grounded ontological model for supporting collaborative work practices in safety critical environments

Chiara Bassetti, Roberta Ferrario, Maria Luiza M. Campos 

ABSTRACT

Resulting from an interdisciplinary endeavor, the paper proposes an ontological model for supporting collaborative work practices in critical settings, and shows its application to a specific domain. The model is empirically-grounded, as based on ethnographic research carried out at an international airport –clearly an example of safety-critical environment, where emergency prevention and preparedness are crucial. On the other hand, the model leverages on previous ontological work on collaboration and observation in emergency response, and revises it when necessary, thus contributing to its development. Taking hand-baggage screening as an example, the paper shows how the model can be applied, and how it could be used to run model-based simulation in order to better understand collaborative work practices and analyze the impact of different techno-organizational changes on such practices and their effectiveness. This could result in suggesting guidelines for enhancing workflow, security policies and, more generally, time- and safety-critical situations management.  

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Towards a Pan-European Information Space

Kristin Huebner, Carsten Dalaff, Wolfgang Vorraber, Gerald Lichtenegger, Uberto Delprato, Georg Neubauer, Bettina Jager, Alexander Preinerstorfer

ABSTRACT

When disasters occur, key factors for minimizing damages and loss of lives are access to necessary information and effective communication between emergency services. In cross-border disaster management, further challenges arise: language barriers, uneven know-how, organisational and technical differences in particular concerning communication and data or information exchange. To address those challenges, the FP7-Project EPISECC (Establish Pan-European Information Space to Enhance Security of Citizens) is working on the concept of a common information space to improve interoperability and efficiency while managing cross-border disasters. This involves researching on a common taxonomy and ontology as well as on interoperability functionalities and tools. A first step on this direction is the analysis of how disasters have been and are being managed. This paper reports on an inventory of disasters designed to consolidate such knowledge and aimed at being the basis for this information space. First gaps identified in communication/information management are also presented.

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Approach to support Situational Awareness within Inter-Organizational Collaboration in Crisis Response

Amina Saoutal, Nada Matta, Jean-Pierre Cahier

ABSTRACT

Regardless of the type of crisis and its complexity as well as the difference of culture, objectives and priorities of the multitude organizations involved, emergency response requires effective communication in order to achieve situational awareness within inter-organizational collaboration, make decision and achieve their own objectives. However, actors are challenged by several problems. Among them, weak interaction and information exchange, unavailability of information at the right time etc. Our contribution outlined in this paper is suggesting an approach based on an empirical study conducted in France. The objective of this approach is to mitigate inter-organizational communication problems and support situational awareness (SA) by distributing needed information at the right time.

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