Coordination in Emergency Management (Computer Project)

Emergency management (EM) can benefit from new information and communication technology (ICT). However, the complexity of the field poses high demands upon prospective system developers. The design of technological support in a field where roles and actions are entwined and never completely predetermined, requires an understanding of interactions in the socio-technical system as a whole.

In this project, an attempt is made to work from a Cognitive Systems Engineering stance to identify important characteristics of coordination in intermunicipal EM. Applying perspectives from distributed cognition, joint activity and common ground, Hollnagel’s COCOM and ECOM models have been applied to identify points of entry into work practices.

Working with data from a simulated forest-fire in a role-playing exercise, an analysis of dialogues uncovered ambiguity in how functions are handled in a large event, indicating vulnerabilities in face of larger crises. In addition, it became evident that functions moved across roles during the evolving event, and it was possible to uncover recognizable phases of a response. The results underline characteristics that should be supported by future ICT, and occurrences that can be explored in future studies.
Source: Linköping University
Author: Aminoff, Hedvig

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