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Enabling organizational learning from rescue operations : The Swedish rescue services incident reporting system

Sofie Pilemalm (Department of Management and Engineering Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden)
Dennis Andersson (Dennis Andersson Group for Information Systems, Swedish Defense Research Agency, Stockholm, Sweden)
Kayvan Yousefi Mojir (Department of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linkoping, Sweden)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 7 October 2014




The purpose of this paper is to explore the re-development process of the Swedish Rescue Services Incident Reporting System from an organizational learning perspective with the purpose to suggest what is needed to enable long-term learning from rescue operations.


The study is carried out as a case study relying on interviews, participant observation and workshop methods. The study case is the Swedish Incident Reporting System.


The objectives expressed by the central agency leading the studied process aimed at implementing double-loop learning objectives by revising the incident reports and to improve future operations accordingly. In practice this objective was lost along the way, with the agency focussing on cosmetic changes to the report such as terminology, attributes and labels. Meanwhile the local rescue services expressed different and concrete needs, requiring new system functionality, case/experience based learning, process improvements and organizational development. A number of suggestions of such measures are provided by the study, to be used by rescue services and other response organizations.


The case stands out because the re-development process is driven by one stakeholder, with the ambition to include multiple stakeholders’ needs. The study should be of specific interest to fire rescue services world-wide. However, considering that many tasks, learning and evaluation aspects of rescue operations are similar regardless of type of first responder involved (e.g. in firefighting, traffic accidents, and cardiac arrests), the results are also of interest to emergency management in general.



The study was financed by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB).


Pilemalm, S., Andersson, D. and Yousefi Mojir, K. (2014), "Enabling organizational learning from rescue operations : The Swedish rescue services incident reporting system", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 101-117.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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