Alternative Patterns of Decision-Making in Emergent Disaster Response Networks

August 1983 (VOL. 1, NO. 2)

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Data are presented which depict the pattern of decision-making in seven emergent multiorganizational networks (EMONS). These EMONS were the emergency response systems through which most search and rescue (SAR) activities were accomplished in one remote area mission and six natural disaster settings, including the 1979 Wichita Falls tornado, Hurricane Frederic (1979), and the eruption of Mount St. Helens (1980). Discussion of results focused on key structuring factors, i.e., why did these EMONS assume these particular shapes; performance implications; and policy implications. The major conclusion is that a new theoretical foundation for emergency management is required which is rooted in a locally focused perspective which reflects an imagery of loosely coupled systems whose degrees of interdependency undergo episodic, but very temporary, change.