Manage Everything or Anything? Possible Ways Towards Generic Emergency Management Capabilities
Department of Design Sciences, Lund University
Sölvegatan 26, Lund, Sweden
This paper explores two approaches to information processing and learning in societal safety efforts: (1) stressing specifics and (2) aiming at generalities. It discusses how the two approaches are related to each other and to high-level efforts to achieve societal safety. As background, this paper briefly explores the concept of generic capability – what is it? How is it to be understood? How can it be developed? – and relates it to the interplay between specifics and generalities. The paper gives examples of the factors that may contribute to generic capabilities represented in literature related to safety and emergency management. Examples from continuity management, resilience engineering and high reliability organizations are given and discussed concerning their focus on specifics and/or generalities. The paper also discusses scenario-based learning and the perspective of semantic hierarchies, which explains how a move to more abstract concepts, encompassing the main meaning of more concrete instances, may support the development of generic capability. It ends with a summary and suggestions for practice and the need for further research.
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