Inderscience Publishers

Planning to improvise: the importance of creativity and flexibility in crisis response

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For decades social science research on disasters has documented the importance of organisational emergence and individual role improvising to effective emergency responses. Yet those responsible for planning for crises continue to embrace approaches that emphasise centralised command and control and that discourage creativity. In this paper we describe the nature of improvisation, identify characteristics of organisations that impede flexibility in responding to crises, and discuss the implications of social science research on disasters for crisis planning and emergency management. We conclude that crisis planners should encourage – not constrain – creativity in their planning efforts.

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