5th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management ISCRAM2008
SPECIAL SESSION on Trust in Emergency Planning and Response
Emergency planning and response requires collaboration, often with others with whom there are no prior relationships. Disasters cross man-made boarders, nations and sometimes continents, bringing together people, both professional as well as voluntary, who have never worked together before. Prior research suggests that trust is a crucial element in effective team functioning. A disaster can strain local resources and force collaboration amongst groups who previously had not prepared to work together and this can be in times where time is critical and there is no time to build relationships. Most of the literature assumes that relationships and roles amongst stakeholders are well-defined. However, this is a dangerous assumption in the case of emergencies that are large or unexpected or have not been previously experienced. In such cases a new team must be quickly formed without time to build a history that develops trust and so swift trust must develop. Another emerging element is that emergency professionals are working as virtual communities adding another dimension to the complexity of the situation at hand. Open source software systems are bringing together a multitude of humans and agencies to work collaboratively in effort to respond efficiently to a crisis and to manage the response and recovery efforts effectively. When multiple organizations work together in emergency management in-group/out-group effects can diminish team effectiveness and trust can be difficult to build. This mini track calls for papers that clarify or test the unique challenges of developing and maintaining trust in emergency planning and response.