Inderscience Publishers

Exploring emergency response: theories of communities of practice, safety cultures, situation awareness and tacit knowledge

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This paper discusses theoretical constructs from various domains to explore emergency response management. Using the Piper Alpha disaster as an example, we argue that applying a communities of practice lens can inform understandings of safety cultures, shared situation awareness, and tacit knowledge. First, we briefly outline the Piper Alpha event and detail communities of practice theory with a critical analysis of how it can be applied to emergency response events with respect to safety cultures. Then, we connect the development and maintenance of situation awareness and tacit knowledge to our argument as it relates to actions performed in relation to the emergency event. Finally, we provide a concluding discussion of the Piper Alpha disaster in order explore implications for emergency response management.

Keywords: emergency response, communities of practice, situation awareness, safety culture, tacit knowledge, emergency management, Piper Alpha disaster, disaster response

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