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A case study of factor influencing role improvisation in crisis response teams
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, Human-Centered systems. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.
Linköping University, Department of Computer and Information Science, Human-Centered systems. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, Department of Science and Technology, Media and Information Technology. Linköping University, The Institute of Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8862-7331
2013 (English)In: Cognition, Technology & Work, ISSN 1435-5558, E-ISSN 1435-5566, Vol. 15, no 1, 79-93 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Common characteristics of crisis situations are ambiguous and unplanned for events. The need for improvised roles can therefore be an imperative factor for the success of an operation. The aim of this study is to deepen the understanding of the processes taking place during improvised work ‘‘as it happens’’. A case study of a crisis management team at work is presented and provides an in-depth analysis of the information and communication flow of persons acting in improvised roles, including con- textual factors influencing the task at hand. The analysis suggests that three main factors lay behind decreased per- formance by the team when some of its members were forced to take on roles for which they lacked professional training; lack of language skills, lack of domain knowledge and insufficient organizational structure of the tasks. Based on the observations from this case study, we suggest three ways of improving a team’s performance and hence resil- ience when forced to improvise due to lack of personnel in one or more required competence areas. These are training to take on the responsibility for tasks or roles outside ones professional area of specialization, developing formal routines for changes in roles and tasks and developing and using tools and routines for information sharing.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2013. Vol. 15, no 1, 79-93 p.
Keyword [en]
Role improvisation, Crisis management, Resilience engineering, Organizational improvisation, Episode analysis
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-80311DOI: 10.1007/s10111-011-0186-3ISI: 000313737400010OAI: diva2:546493
Available from: 2012-08-23 Created: 2012-08-23 Last updated: 2014-06-12
In thesis
1. Resilience in High Risk Work: Analysing Adaptive Performance
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Resilience in High Risk Work: Analysing Adaptive Performance
2013 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In today’s complexsocio-technical systems it is not possible to foresee and prepare for allfuture events. To cope with the intricacy and coupling between people,technical systems and the dynamic environment people are required tocontinuously adapt. To design resilient systems a deepened understanding ofwhat supports and enables adaptive performance is needed. In this thesis two studiesare presented that investigate how adaptive abilities can be identified andanalysed in complex work settings across domains. The studies focus onunderstanding adaptive performance, what enables successful adaptation and how contextual factors affect the performance. The first study examines how acrisis command team adapts as they lose important functions of their teamduring a response operation.  The secondstudy presents a framework to analyse adaptive behaviour in everyday work wheresystems are working near the margins of safety. The examples that underlie theframework are based on findings from focus group discussion withrepresentatives from different organisations, including health care, nuclear,transportation and emergency services. Main contributions of this thesis includethe examination of adaptive performance and of how it can be analysed as ameans to learn about and strengthen resilience. By using contextual analysis enablersof adaptive performance and its effects the overall system are identified. Theanalysis further demonstrates that resilience is not a system property but aresult of situational circumstances and organisational structures. Theframework supports practitioners and researchers in reporting findings,structuring cases and making sense of sharp-end adaptations. The analysismethod can be used to better understand system adaptive capacities, monitoradaptive patterns and enhance current methods for safety management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2013. 51 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1589
Resilience Engineering, Safety Management, Adaptive Capacity, Improvisation
National Category
Other Computer and Information Science
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-90726 (URN)LiU-Tek-Lic-2013:23 (Local ID)978-91-7519-634-3 (print) (ISBN)LiU-Tek-Lic-2013:23 (Archive number)LiU-Tek-Lic-2013:23 (OAI)
2013-05-24, Alan Turing, Hus E, Campus Valla, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 10:15 (English)
EU, FP7, Seventh Framework Programme
Available from: 2013-05-07 Created: 2013-04-04 Last updated: 2013-05-07Bibliographically approved

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Rankin, AmyDahlbäck, NilsLundberg, Jonas
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