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Open Access
Article
Publication date: 7 September 2023

Sten Torpan, Sten Hansson, Kati Orru, Mark Rhinard, Lucia Savadori, Pirjo Jukarainen, Tor-Olav Nævestad, Sunniva Frislid Meyer, Abriel Schieffelers and Gabriella Lovasz

This paper offers an empirical overview of European emergency managers' institutional arrangements and guidelines for using social media in risk and crisis communication.

Abstract

Purpose

This paper offers an empirical overview of European emergency managers' institutional arrangements and guidelines for using social media in risk and crisis communication.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors collected and analysed material including publicly accessible relevant legal acts, policy documents, official guidelines, and press reports in eight European countries – Germany, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Finland, Norway, and Estonia. Additionally, the authors carried out 95 interviews with emergency managers in the eight countries between September 2019 and February 2020.

Findings

The authors found that emergency management institutions' social media usage is rarely centrally controlled and social media crisis communication was regulated with the same guidelines as crisis communication on traditional media. Considering this study's findings against the backdrop of existing research and practice, the authors find support for a “mixed arrangement” model by which centralised policies work in tandem with decentralised practices on an ad hoc basis.

Practical implications

Comparative insights about institutional arrangements and procedural guidelines on social media crisis communication in the studied countries could inform the future policies concerning social media use in other emergency management systems.

Originality/value

This study includes novel, cross-national comparative data on the institutional arrangements and guidelines for using social media in emergency management in the context of Europe.

Details

International Journal of Emergency Services, vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2047-0894

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