Inderscience Publishers

An examination of interdependencies among major barriers to coordination in disaster response

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This paper reports two exploratory research studies conducted to identify major barriers to coordination in disaster response and to understand causal relationships among those barriers. In the first study, two expert panels (emergency operations centre directors and firefighters) participated in a Delphi survey to identify and prioritise major barriers. In the second study, five focus group sessions were conducted with state and parish (county) emergency operations centre directors and response professionals. Each group created a conceptual map of major barriers and the causal relationships among them. Results are integrated in a Coordination Barrier Classification Framework that incorporates the relative importance and interdependencies among the six major barriers (planning, resources, training, chain of command, politics, and communication). Differences by stakeholder group are also identified. Preliminary implications and avenues for future research are suggested.

Keywords: disaster response, coordination barriers, interdependent organisations, Delphi method, structured communication, forecasting, cognitive mapping, network centrality, interdependencies, causal relationships, emergency operations centres, emergency operations directors, firefighters, emergency response professionals, conceptual maps, coordination barrier classification framework, planning, resources, training, chains of command, politics, stakeholders, stakeholder groups, emergency services, USA, Gulf South, Louisiana, United States, Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita, Hurricane Gustav, Hurricane Ike, Texas, parishes, state counties, local government, natural disasters, weather, disaster management, emergency management

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