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Time to rethink Norwegian maritime collaboration exercises

Elsa Kristiansen (Department of Business and Management, University College of Southeast Norway, Borre, Norway)
Jarle Løwe Sørensen (University College of Southeast Norway, Borre, Norway)
Eric Carlström (Institute of Health and Care Sciences, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburgh, Sweden) (University College of Southeast Norway, Borre, Norway)
Leif Inge Magnussen (University College of Southeast Norway, Borre, Norway)

International Journal of Emergency Services

ISSN: 2047-0894

Article publication date: 2 May 2017




This case study maps the perceived collaboration between public, private and volunteer organizations during maritime crisis work, with a substantive focus on communication, information flow and distribution of activities. The exercise studied was held in the far north in Norway. It was estimated to be Europe’s most extensive exercise in 2016. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


The data were collected through observations, semi-structured interviews and reviews of associated frameworks and evaluation reports. Data were collected simultaneously at five different sites.


The key findings showed an intra-organizational focus, a predominance of drills and different informal exercises instead of a cohesive exercise. This made evaluation difficult. Reasons for the fragmentation of the exercise appear to be the size of the exercise and the script.

Research limitations/implications

Generalization of findings is problematic as this study involved only one exercise. However, this study has national significance, as it involved 22 public, private and volunteer stakeholder organizations, including civil emergency response units, the military, the Norwegian Civil Defence, and major maritime volunteer organizations such as the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. Collaboration between actors suffered from the size of the exercise. A smaller exercise, less dependency on predetermined scripts, and more receptivity toward improvisation could improve collaboration.


The study shows how collaboration fails as an effect of strict agendas and scripts to accomplish an impressive but complex and oversized exercise.



Kristiansen, E., Løwe Sørensen, J., Carlström, E. and Inge Magnussen, L. (2017), "Time to rethink Norwegian maritime collaboration exercises", International Journal of Emergency Services, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 14-28.



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