Guest editorial

Paresh Wankhade (Edge Hill University)
Shankar Sankaran (University Of Technology Sydney)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 13 July 2015

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Wankhade, P. and Sankaran, S. (2015), "Guest editorial", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 4 No. 1. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJES-05-2015-0018

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Guest editorial

Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Emergency Services, Volume 4, Issue 1.

As the world is becoming more interconnected, any major crisis or emergency that occurs in one part of the world reverberates in other parts of the world, be it a natural disaster like an earthquake or tsunami, political such as wars, man-made such as terrorist attacks or humanitarian such as the spread of AIDS, poverty, etc. There are pockets of research activities being conducted in specific areas of crisis and emergency management such as post-disaster recovery, emergency management, incident management and organizational resilience, but there is a need to bring together these approaches to learn from each other. The researchers who are working on these important themes also do not often communicate or work together. This Special Issue is a small step in enabling researchers working in different areas of crisis, emergency management, organizational resilience and recovery to be able to present their work in a common forum so that a community of inquiry covering this important area of human existence can be initiated. The Editors of this Special Issue will continue to promote special tracks in conferences such as the annual European Academy of Management (EURAM) conferences and support suitable venues for publication of papers such as the International Journal of Emergency Services (IJES). We would like to thank the authors who contributed to this Special Issue on the topic for helping us to make valuable knowledge public in this area of great importance.

This Special Issue has resulted from a special track titled “Crisis, Emergency Management and Recovery” organized at the EURAM 14th Annual Conference held at Valencia in Spain in 2014. Researchers were invited to present on the various aspects of a crisis including preparedness before a crisis, resilience during a crisis and recovering from a crisis covering strategies, tactics and methods required to deal with a variety of crises including natural, political, man-made and humanitarian crises and their interactions and interdependencies. The issue contains papers generated from presentations at the EURAM conference as well as new papers from authors who responded to a call for papers that was issued subsequent to the conference. The three areas covered by the track – preparing for a crisis, resilience during a crisis as well as recovering from a crisis find a place in the papers in this Special Issue.

In our reading, we categorize the following papers “Assuring organizational resilience with lean scenario-driven exercises”, “Climate change and supply-chain vulnerability: methodologies for resilience and impacts quantification” and “The secret of organization success: a revision on organizational and team resilience” as helpful to prepare for a crisis; the papers titled “Crisis management: the spiritual aspects of victim recovery in serious crime”, “Capturing the citizen perspective in crisis management exercises: possibilities and challenges”, and “Do the citizens of Europe trust their police?” as contributing to resilience during a crisis and the papers titled “Post-conflict reconstruction – a case study in Kosovo: the complexity of planning and implementing infrastructure projects” and “Shaping the societal impact of emergencies: striking a balance between control and cooperation” as useful in dealing with the recovery from a crisis.

We will start with the papers that are devoted to preparing for a crisis to point out some key features.

Our first paper by Valeria Andreoni and Apollonia Miola entitled “Climate change and supply-chain vulnerability: methodologies for resilience and impacts quantification” argues that the strong interdependencies existing between production activities occurring in different parts of the world are vulnerable to crisis, and climate change is one of the important factors that affects economic networks. The paper covers some important methodologies and databases that can assist in investigating the climate vulnerability of a global supply chain thus providing information that can be useful to build resilience for crisis preparedness. The paper covers six methodologies (five top-down and one bottom-up) and seven key input-output databases that would be useful for other researchers.

Our next paper entitled “The secret of organization success: a revision on organizational and team resilience” authored by Alma Maria Rodríguez-Sánchez and Maria Vera Perea is a literature review focusing on the main factors that boost resilience among work teams in organizations. The authors argue that there is a growing tendency to use teams as the basic unit of an organization which is why they focused on work teams. They provide some useful leads for future studies to be conducted in this area which other researchers may find worthwhile to follow up.

The third paper entitled “Assuring organizational resilience with lean scenario-driven exercises” by Mils Hills describes two highly effective and novel lean approaches to crisis management – Forensic Decision Reflection Exercise (F-DREx) and Scenario Driven Exercise (SDE) for the first time in open literature. The paper is based on the author’s experiences using these exercises in testing resilience in organizations associated with the UK Government. The author contends that learning through these exercises is likely to improve participants’ problem-solving and judgment-making skills, thus preparing the organization to deal with a crisis when it arises.

Next we discuss the papers that help in building resilience during a crisis.

In her paper entitled “Crisis management: the spiritual aspects of victim recovery in serious crime” the author Irene Afful discusses the spiritual aspects of recovery of victims of a crisis in providing a practitioner viewpoint. The author argues that while spiritual support is available to police officers who are involved in a crisis, the victims of a serious crime are not afforded similar support, even though it is equally important. She points out that while family liaison officers could play that role they are not equipped to provide such support. Another source of support – witness care officers only engage with victims of crime via telephone which is insufficient. The authors contend that while police involvement usually ceases for victims of crime once the judicial process is completed, this is insufficient, and continued support would be needed. While people who provide pastoral support to police are best equipped to support victims of crime the police do not have the budget to provide this support nor is it part of their governing policy. The author hopes that this paper may pave the way for governments to rethink the strategy for victims of crime in the criminal justice process which may then make spiritual support available from the police chaplains to victims of crime.

Harry Barton and Malcolm J. Beynon, the authors of the paper entitled “Do the citizens of Europe trust their police?” suggest that police need to know how and why people obey the law and cooperate with legal authorities. The authors have applied a unique method of analysis called the fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) to documents and data derived from the European Social Survey to identify factors that link people’s perceptions of police legitimacy to their own compliance with law which has an effect on their trust and willingness to cooperate with the police.

In the next paper entitled “Capturing the citizen perspective in crisis management exercises: possibilities and challenges” the authors David Scott, Carina Brandow, Jennifer Hobbins, Sofia Nilsson and Ann Enander examine the potential of supporting and communicating with citizens in an analysis of how citizens were portrayed and perceived by participants in a major crisis management exercise to form a citizen behaviour typology. Their study also demonstrated some of the challenges in incorporating the citizen perspective and the ability of exercise participants to meet and respond to public behaviours with respect and seriousness. The results of the study are discussed in terms of a learning framework with the aim of explicitly developing crisis managers’ ability to interact and communicate with citizens in crisis situations.

Finally we look at the two papers that contribute to recovering from a crisis.

James Earnest in his paper entitled “Post-conflict reconstruction – a case study in Kosovo: the complexity of planning and implementing infrastructure projects” suggests that rehabilitation and reconstruction activities following a conflict are complex but rarely handled well. Using the case study of Kosovo he reports on an exploratory study aimed at understanding and improving planning, pre-designing and implementation of badly needed infrastructure after a war. He has used the project management knowledge areas proposed by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to analyse his data. The paper is an example of the use of a mixed-methods approach to project management research. The author also points out that the risk of diversion and misappropriation is high after a conflict at a time when efficient use of resources is expected. So a good risk management plan is critical.

Willem Treurniet, Manne Messemaker, Jeroen Wolbers and F. Kees Boersma, the authors of the paper “Shaping the societal impact of emergencies: striking a balance between control and cooperation”, investigate how communication during a crisis can make a difference on the overall impact of an emergency on society by analysing two Dutch case studies. One of the case studies used a chaos, command and control pattern of communication while the other used continuity, coordination and cooperation pattern. The two strategies are then compared and the authors conclude that in reality the communication patterns are unlikely to be that clear cut as portrayed in the two cases. They argue that while the value of collaboration and communication during the response to a crisis is recognized in theory, it is often neglected in practice.

In our fourth year of publication, we can look back with satisfaction that IJES has made a genuine effort in providing a multi-disciplinary platform for an emergency management journal. Over the last six issues, we have strived hard to publish high-quality and original research in dealing with global issues which resonate with our readers. We sincerely believe that IJES has successfully built a community of scholars who share our vision and aims at IJES and are happy to publish their work in this journal. We have successfully built our partnership with the European Academy of Management (EURAM) and IJES will again be supporting the track on “Emergency management, crisis, recovery and organizational resilience” at the EURAM 2015 conference being held at Kozminski University, Warsaw, Poland, 17-20 June 2015. The special panel will be led by the IJES Editor-In-Chief Professor Paresh Wankhade and supported by our Guest Editor, Professor Shankar Sankaran from University of Technology Sydney, Australia. IJES would also like to say good bye to our two colleagues from the editorial team Peter Murphy and Kirsten Greenhalgh who have recently stepped down from their editorial responsibilities for personal reasons. We wish to thank them for their invaluable contribution in supporting the journal since its launch and wish them well for their future. We are pleased that Pete and Kirsten will continue to advise IJES as members of the Editorial Advisory Board.

We are also very grateful to the authors who have supported IJES in the past four years and look forward to engaging with new scholars, researchers, practitioners and academics, to support us in our endeavour of providing a platform to publish high-quality research in emergency management. IJES also acknowledges the important contribution made by our reviewers who provide their invaluable time in conducting high-quality reviews to help us maintain high academic standards. We again invite our readers to join us by writing to us with suggestions for future issues, coverage or themes. We look forward to receiving feedback from our readers on any ideas in this editorial or the selection of the papers in this Special Issue. We also invite expression of interest for publishing with us or joining us as a potential reviewer or being part of the IJES Editorial Advisory Board.

Professor Paresh Wankhade - Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK, and

Professor Shankar Sankaran - University of Technology Sydney, Broadway, Australia