Negotiating the 'trading zone'. Creating a shared information infrastructure in the Dutch public safety sector

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Our main concern in this article is whether nation-wide information technology (IT) infrastructures or systems in emergency response and disaster management are the solution to the communication problems the safety sector suffers from. It has been argued that implementing nation-wide IT systems will help to create shared cognition and situational awareness among relief workers. We put this claim to the test by presenting a case study on the introduction of 'netcentric work', an IT system-based platform aiming at the creation of situational awareness for professionals in the safety sector in the Netherlands. The outcome of our research is that the negotiation with relevant stakeholders by the Dutch government has lead to the emergence of several fragmented IT systems. It becomes clear that a top-down implementation strategy for a single nation-wide information system will fail because of the fragmentation of the Dutch safety sector it is supposed to be a solution to. As the US safety sector is at least as fragmented as its Dutch counterpart, this may serve as a caveat for the introduction of similar IT systems in the US. © 2012 De Gruyter. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
Issue number2
Early online date10 Sept 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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