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New Forms of Collaboration in Emergency Response Systems: A framework for participatory design of information systems
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Information Systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2016 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

An emergency response systems (ERS) is usually responsible for delivering essential services to save lives and minimise environmental damage in case of small, frequent or large-scale emergencies. The ongoing global financial crisis, lack of professional resources, public sector cuts and rising public expectations are some of the challenges ERSs currently are facing. At the same time, societal trends in form of large-scale disasters such as tsunamis, storms, forest fires, terror attacks, and wars in the Middle East leading to mass migration have intensified recently and globally, increasing demand for these services in the public sector. As a result, emergency response actors are often under extreme pressure, and may need to seek assistance from and cooperate with other resources in society in order to become more effective. An emerging trend in ERSs in response to the challenges, in Sweden and internationally, is to create new forms of collaboration in emergency management (e.g., cross-sector collaboration, involving citizens in e-government, and involving volunteers). While research and practice have started to show the benefits of organising ERSs in new ways, the increasingly broad set of heterogeneous stakeholders involved in the collaborations introduce various challenges. Legal issues, unclear responsibilities of actors, difficulty in the categorisation of tasks, job insurance problems, diversity in education and background of actors, and difficulty determining actors’ specific needs for IS support are some examples. Analysis of collaborations thus becomes increasingly complex, and must incorporate many aspects. Rudimentary analyses may result in failure of related projects and IS development, and ultimately in less effective collaborations. New forms of collaboration must therefore be analysed and understood rigorously, generally and in each specific context in order to develop them for ERSs and the public sector and to support actors with effective IS tools.

This thesis develops and presents a framework for analysing new forms of collaboration in ERSs. It also provides an initial suggestion on how to apply the framework with a specific focus on IS development. The study was carried out as a qualitative case study based on three kinds of collaboration in the Swedish ERS: co-operative, cross-sector use of resources, involving civil volunteers in response operations and co-location of actors. The framework has fifteen dimensions. They are: Type/Role, Attitude, Training, Background, Task and Responsibility, Availability/Accessibility, Incident Type, Communication Methods, Information Technology, Emergency Supplies, Organisational Structure, Leadership, Costs/Benefits, Environment, and Regulations and Legal Issues. Sociotechnical systems theory and participatory design principles were applied to make the framework usable in the IS field. The framework can be used generally to analyse new forms of collaboration in ERSs in order to understand its different aspects and emergent challenges, such as actors’ tasks, relevant laws, leadership and organisational factors, which may otherwise be overlooked, into the analysis process. As to IS development, the framework can contribute to organisational analysis and needs analysis in the participatory design of IS for ERSs, e.g. by helping to identify key stakeholders and involve them in the development process.

The framework was initially tested at the co-location case and showed several promising benefits in terms of identifying and involving stakeholders in the development process. It was deemed helpful in determining and formulating interviews, observations, and future workshops in order to explore and study all relevant dimensions of the collaboration in the early phases of participatory design. It was also felt that the framework saved time and resources. It is argued that it may offer similar benefits in similar cases, although this will require further testing with more case studies. A standardised and developed version of the framework may also be adapted to be applicable to other public sector contexts such as e-government in which new forms of collaboration and governance are in focus. Such a framework may also help to address general challenges often associated with participatory design, add formalisation to it, and contribute to shift it from an academic to a practical approach in order to derive its benefits in complex environments. The next step will be to use the framework as a departure point for analysing the potential co-operative use of resources and cross-sector collaboration in the project ‘Efficient Communal Use of Municipal Resources for Increased Safety and Security’ (ESKORT) in the municipality of Norrköping.

Abstract [sv]

Ett responssystem (Eng: emergency response system) är vanligtvis ansvarigt för att rädda liv och minska skador på miljö och infrastruktur i små, frekventa olyckor eller storskaliga händelser, kriser och katastrofer. Den pågående globala finanskrisen, brist på professionella resurser och nedskärningar inom den offentliga sektorn samtidigt som förväntningarna från allmänheten ökar är några av de aktuella utmaningar som responssystemet står inför. Samtidigt har globala händelser i form av storskaliga katastrofer som tsunamis, stormar och skogsbränder intensifierats och terrorattacker, och krig i Mellanöstern lett till ökade migrationsströmmar, vilket också ökat trycket inom offentlig sektor. Därför är responsaktörer ofta under extrem press och behöver söka hjälp från och samarbeta med andra resurser i samhället för att bli mer effektiva. Ett sätt att hantera utmaningarna är en framväxande trend i responssystemen i Sverige och internationellt att skapa nya samverkansformer, t.ex. tvärsektoriell samverkan, att involvera medborgare i e-förvaltning, och att involvera frivilliga. Både forskning och praktik har börjat visa på vissa fördelar med att organisera responssystemen på nya sätt. Men trots fördelarna medför också de nya samverkansformerna och de breda, heterogena aktörsgrupper som deltar i dessa olika utmaningar. Juridiska frågor, oklara ansvarsförhållanden, svårigheter att kategorisera arbetsuppgifter, oklarheter i jobbförsäkringar, variation i utbildning och bakgrund hos aktörer och svårigheter att identifiera olika aktörers specifika behov av till exempel informationssystem (IS) är några exempel. Därmed blir analysen av samverkan alltmer komplex och bör inkludera många aspekter. Alltför rudimentära analyser kan leda till otillräckliga resultat i relaterade projekt och IS-utveckling och på sikt kan detta leda till mindre effektivt samarbete mellan aktörerna. Nya former av samverkan måste därför analyseras och förstås noggrant, generellt och i varje visst sammanhang, i syfte att utveckla dem och att stödja aktörerna med effektiva IS.

I denna licentiatavhandling utvecklas och presenteras ett ramverk för att analysera nya samverkansformer i responssystemet. Den ger också ett inledande förslag på hur man kan tillämpa ramverket med särskilt fokus på ISutveckling. Avhandlingen utgörs av en kvalitativ studie baserad på tre samverkansformer i det svenska responssystemet: sambruk av resurser mellan olika samhällssektorer, att involvera civila frivilliga i räddningsinsatser och samlokalisering av responsaktörer. Ramverket innefattar femton dimensioner: Typ /roll, attityd, utbildning, bakgrund, uppgift och ansvar, tillgänglighet, händelsetyp, kommunikationsmetoder, informationsteknologi, utrustning, organisationsstruktur, ledarskap, kostnad / nytta, arbetsmiljö, policy och juridik. Socio-teknisk systemteori och deltagande design principer tillämpades för att ramverket skulle bli specifikt applicerbart för IS-utveckling. Ramverket kan användas generellt för att analysera nya samverkansformer i responssystemet för att förstå dess olika aspekter och utmaningar, såsom aktörers uppgifter, relevanta lagar, ledarskap och organisatoriska faktorer, som annars riskerar att förbises i analysprocessen. När det gäller ISutveckling kan ramverket bidra till organisationsanalys och behovsanalys i deltagande design av IS för responssystem, t.ex. genom att hjälpa till att identifiera nyckelaktörer och involvera dem i utvecklingsprocesser.

Ramverket testades först vid en studie av samlokalisering vid Trygghetens Hus och visade på flera potentiella fördelar när det gäller att identifiera och involvera aktörer i utvecklingsprocessen. Ramverket fungerade som ett stöd för att identifiera respondenter och utveckla mallar för intervjuer, observationer och en Future Workshop i de tidiga faserna av deltagande design för att söka täcka alla relevanta aspekter av samverkan. Det verkade också som att ramverket sparade tid och resurser. Därför argumenteras det för att ramverket kan ge liknande fördelar i liknande fall men för att kunna uttala sig mer säkert om detta krävs ytterligare tester och tillämpningar med flera fallstudier. En standardiserad och utvecklad version av ramverket kan ha potential att tillämpas på andra sammanhang inom den offentliga sektorn, såsom e-förvaltning där nya samverkansformer är i fokus. Ett sådant ramverk kan också bidra till att lösa mer generella problem med deltagande design, såsom brist på formalisering, och därmed bidra till att göra ansatsen mer praktisk och tillämpbar i komplexa systemutvecklingskontexter. I nästa steg kommer ramverket användas som en utgångspunkt och ett stöd för att analysera och utveckla IS stöd för sambruk av resurser och tvärsektoriell samverkan mellan aktörer i projektet. ”Effektivt gemensamt bruk av kommunala resurser för ökad säkerhet och trygghet" (ESKORT) i Norrköpings kommun.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2016. , 97 p.
Series
FiF-avhandling - Filosofiska fakulteten – Linköpings universitet, ISSN 1401-4637 ; 119
National Category
Information Systems Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-129233DOI: 10.3384/lic.diva-129233ISBN: 978-91-7685-728-1 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-129233DiVA: diva2:936709
Presentation
2016-08-31, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

The series title Linköping Studies in Art and Science, Thesis in the printet version is incorrect. The correct series title is FiF-avhhandlling. The series title is corrected in the electronic version.

Available from: 2016-06-14 Created: 2016-06-14 Last updated: 2016-07-04Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. A Framework for “New Actors” in Emergency Response Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A Framework for “New Actors” in Emergency Response Systems
2013 (English)In: ISCRAM2013. Conference Proceedings, Book of Papers, 10th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management / [ed] T. Comes, F. Fiedrich , S. Fortier, J. Geldermann and T. Müller, 2013, 741-746 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Using actors from different societal sectors can improve the response operation quality in emergency management. The different roles, tasks and responsibilities these actors have in response operations and the legal frameworks they work within influence their needs for proper information system support. There is thus a substantial need to study and systemize the concept of “new actors” before providing them with technical solutions. In this study, a framework is constructed showing 14 dimensions of new actors that need to be considered when new actors are studied in more detail.

Keyword
Emergency response system, new actor, framework, first responder.
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-95995 (URN)9783923704804 (ISBN)
Conference
10th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2013), 12-15 May 2013, Baden-Baden, Germany
Available from: 2013-08-12 Created: 2013-08-12 Last updated: 2016-06-14Bibliographically approved
2. Emerging communities of collaboration: co-location in emergency response systems in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Emerging communities of collaboration: co-location in emergency response systems in Sweden
2014 (English)In: 11th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management - ISCRAM 2014 / [ed] S.R. Hiltz, M.S. Pfaff, L. Plotnick, and P.C. Shih, 2014, 546-555 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Co-location as a form of network governance is a way of organizing response teams when responding to an emergency situation. At the ‘Safety house’ in the province of Jämtland in Sweden main emergency response actors and supporting actors work together in a shared physical place in order to facilitate the process of cooperation and joint decision making. In order to identify the strengths, weaknesses, obstacles, needs and information system role, we explored this case by looking at how the involved actors experience this new working context. We applied an analytical framework developed specifically for new forms of emergency response. It was found that co-location of actors increases the efficiency in using professional response resources and shortens the emergency response time. Information systems can have a significant role in improving the collaboration between actors at the ‘Safety house’. However secrecy issues, the problem of control and politics and the evaluation of the performance of actors are major challenges which face further development of the co-location concept.

Keyword
Emergency, Crisis Management, Network governance
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-109496 (URN)9780692211946 (ISBN)
Conference
11th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management (ISCRAM 2014), University Park, Pennsylvania, USA, 18 May 2014
Available from: 2014-08-20 Created: 2014-08-20 Last updated: 2016-06-14Bibliographically approved

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