Cross-Organizational Information Sharing and Coordination in Disaster Response: The Case of the 2008 Wenchuan China Earthquake
Enyan Wang*, Dequan Zheng**, and Xiangyang Li**
*School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, 2#, West Wenhua Road, Weihai, China
**School of Management, Harbin Institute of Technology, 92#, XiDaZhi Street, Harbin, China
Information sharing is a vital component of unified planning among multiple agencies performing varied tasks and activities toward effective emergency response, which promotes effective coordination. Insufficient information sharing and ineffective coordination among organizations during a disaster response creates a bottleneck in need of urgent resolution to effect preparedness. Building a highly effective emergency management information system would help to solve this problem. Modern information technology processing techniques have produced tools and approaches for information sharing across multiple agencies. However, Chinese and international scholars who study the multi-agency unified response systems of various countries have found that such systems are not in practice. This study took a socio-technical system perspective to analyze the characteristics of emergency response organizations and tasks involved in the response to the 2008 Wenchuan (China) earthquake as a case study. Existing problems and possible causes were analyzed from system and technology perspectives to identify possible resolutions to problems in cross-organizational information sharing and coordination that would improve the quality and speed of information sharing and coordination among multiple agencies. The results suggest a basic theoretical approach for the analysis and design of an open, cross-organizational relief management information system that can efficiently and effectively respond to large-scale disasters.
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