Those governing the collaborative information management system should facilitate dialogue between all involved organisations, try to find the means of dealing with power imbalances, and help to implement an agreed-upon process for conflict resolution.
Does the collaborative information management system support two-way channels of communication between partners?
How can leader(s) of the system make themselves aware of power imbalances within the collaboration?
How are participants supported in addressing such imbalances?
Collaboration in emergency management requires dialogical and discursive practices amongst decision-makers. This has many dimensions, ranging from a need for interoperability frameworks (such as the UK Joint Interoperability Framework JESIP) to practices of configuring awareness within a collaborative information management system (Heath and Luff 1992), people’s ability to understand risks in the light of their capacities to respond (Weick 1988), and their ability to see the situation from another person’s and role’s perspective (Weick 1993). Today, citizen’s perceptions are also available for inclusion in a dialogue through social media (Artman et al 2011, Latonero and Shklovski 2010).
A recent report on global voices within disaster relief presents a range of insights into how neglecting to seek a dialogue with the multiple stakeholders involved leads to suboptimal disaster risk management (Jacobs et al 2015):
“Make affected people and communities the prime agents of humanitarian response.” – WHS Europe and Others, co-chairs’ summary
“Recognize and promote the central role of affected people and communities in humanitarian action, and guarantee spaces for their empowerment and leadership in all phases of humanitarian action.” – WHS Latin America and the Caribbean, co-chairs’ summary
“Systematically documenting and sharing information on local communities’ coping mechanisms, best practices and lessons learned to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their preparedness and response.” – WHS South and Central Asia, chair’s summary
“Understand the importance of market dynamics and undertake or utilize vulnerability and capacity assessments to establish and adjust priorities for the most appropriate time of assistance, for example cash, vouchers, or other modalities that help strength- en local markets and contribute to building resilience.” – WHS Latin America and the Caribbean, co-chairs’ summary
“Ensure participation of affected people in the identification of underlying risks and in program design through innovative approaches in engagement and implementation of best practices.” – Global Forum for Improving Humanitarian Action
Artman, H., Brynielsson, J., Johansson, B. J. E., and Trnka, J. (2011). Dialogical Emergency Management and Strategic Awareness in Emergency Communication. Management, (May): 1–9 [Link]
Heath, C., and Luff, P. (1992). Collaboration and Control: Crisis management and multimedia technology in London Underground Line Control Rooms. Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 1(1–2): 69–94 [DOI]
Jacobs, A., Lee, A., Hofmann, C.-A., Cafferty, E., Antinoja, E., Diniz, J., Subki, A. (2015). Restoring Humanity: Global Voices Calling for Action. New York. [Link]
JESIP. (2013). Joint Doctrine: The Interoperability Framework [Link]
Latonero, M. and Shklovski, I. (2010). Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service “: Emergency Management & Social Media Evangelism. ISCRAM, 1(May), 1–10. [DOI]