Beyond the myth of control: Toward network switching in disaster management

F.K. Boersma, J.E. Ferguson, P. Groenewegen, J.J. Wolbers

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademic


A novel, ‘net-centric’ approach to disaster management is challenging traditional forms of command and control, through technology-supported, self-directed networks of heterogeneous stakeholders including affected citizens. Citizen involvement in crisis response can strengthen the resilience of local communities, and improve the relevance and delivery of response, evidenced by increasingly important Web2.0-based platforms. While netcentric responses show promise as a principle, it remains unclear how networks can be integrated in shared response infrastructures. We draw on the concepts of ‘programming’ and ‘switching’ to suggest a different perspective by which to explore the potential and consequences of interconnected networks. Finally, we propose a research agenda that can help identify and understand switching points in disaster response, comparing a
weakly formalized management structure, but strong in citizen involvement, with a strongly formalized management structure, but weak in citizen involvement. We thereby suggest how response organizations can relinquish their reliance on control and command approaches, increasing their adaptive capacity to capitalize on
citizen-based information.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 11th International ISCRAM Conference
Editors S.R. Hiltz, M.S. Pfaff, L. Plotnick, and P.C. Shih, eds.
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Duration: 18 May 201421 May 2014



Bibliographical note

Theme 2: Command and Control Studies


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