Emergencies and the use of unorganized volunteers. Experiences from Tromsø
AuthorSkar, Marit Synnøve Olsen
If disaster strikes, people who are nearby will very often contribute in the emergency response. Emergency responders will have to interact with unorganized volunteers. However, research on unorganized volunteers in emergencies has paid little attention on how to best utilize the average citizen. To contribute to better understanding of the interaction between actors present in emergencies we need to understand the relation between emergency responders and unorganized volunteers at the scene. This thesis seeks to add to this knowledge, by providing insight into the interaction between emergency responders and unorganized volunteers. The thesis has applied qualitative method. Interviews and additional textual analysis has proved fruitful when studying the interaction between emergency response agencies and unorganized volunteers. The study is limited to the community of Tromsø. The interaction between emergency responders and unorganized volunteers on the scene are not random. In order to analyze the interaction between emergency responders and unorganized volunteers the study has applied institutional logics as an analytical approach. Institutional logics emphasize the powerful and adaptive role of norms, values and beliefs in the process of organizational development. While interacting with their environment (i.e. professional emergency responders and unorganized volunteers) organizational actors rely on both formal and informal frameworks. Organizations provide formal rules of action and informal practices to the actors within an organization. These aspects may facilitate or constraint action, and determine where the attention of organizational actors is directed. The main finding in this study is that emergency response agencies lack formal practices on how to best utilize unorganized volunteers. Nevertheless, the average citizens are participating in emergency response “every day”, due to informal practices held by emergency responders. Such informal practices refer to the emergency responders’ assumptions, values and beliefs.
PublisherUiT Norges arktiske universitet
UiT The Arctic University of Norway
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