Managing boundaries at the accident scene – a qualitative study of collaboration exercises

Annika Andersson (Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden)
Eric D. Carlstrom (Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg and Department of Nursing, Health and Culture, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, and University West, Trollhättan, Sweden)
Bengt Ahgren (Nordic School of Public Health, Gothenburg, Sweden)
Johan M. Berlin (Department of Social And Behavioural Studies, University West, Trollhättan, Sweden)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Publication date: 4 March 2014



The purpose of this paper is to identify what is practiced during collaboration exercises and possible facilitators for inter-organisational collaboration.


Interviews with 23 participants from four collaboration exercises in Sweden were carried out during autumn 2011. Interview data were subjected to qualitative content analysis.


Findings indicate that the exercises tend to focus on intra-organisational routines and skills, rather than developing collaboration capacities. What the participants practiced depended on roles and order of arrival at the exercise. Exercises contributed to practicing leadership roles, which was considered essential since crises are unpredictable and require inter-organisational decision making.


The results of this study indicate that the ability to identify boundary objects, such as injured/patients, was found to be important in order for collaboration to occur. Furthermore, lessons learned from exercises could benefit from inter-organisational evaluation. By introducing and reinforcing certain elements and distinct aims of the exercise, the proactive function of collaboration exercises can be clarified.



Andersson, A., D. Carlstrom, E., Ahgren, B. and M. Berlin, J. (2014), "Managing boundaries at the accident scene – a qualitative study of collaboration exercises", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 3 No. 1, pp. 77-94.

Download as .RIS



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Please note you might not have access to this content

You may be able to access this content by login via Shibboleth, Open Athens or with your Emerald account.
If you would like to contact us about accessing this content, click the button and fill out the form.
To rent this content from Deepdyve, please click the button.