A Complexity Framework for Studying Disaster Response Management

Research paper by Johan Bergström, Christian Uhr, Tove Frykmer

Indexed on: 14 Jun '16Published on: 13 Jun '16Published in: Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management


Guided by complexity theory, in this article, we argue that a complex understanding of disaster response management can be achieved by making multiple, transparent and modest interpretations. We suggest an analytical framework in which multiple system interpretations are constructed, all based on explicit analytical choices according to three aspects: (1) system dimension, (2) system scope and (3) system resolution. We apply the framework to a major Swedish forest fire and conclude that direction and coordination as system properties, emerging at a macro level, are the result of interplay between various patterns of influences. These patterns, we argue, can be constructed and analysed through a complexity framework allowing for the construction, and contrasting, of multiple system interpretations.