Advancing the Field of Disaster Response Management: Toward a Design Science Approach

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Multiorganizational response to emergencies and disasters requires collaboration. How to improve the collective response is therefore an essential question, but not easy to answer. In disaster research, normative research with a focus on providing evidence for how to improve professional practice has traditionally received less attention than explanatory ones. The aim of this article, using insights from design science where normative research is more common, is to suggest a complementary approach to response management research. Our approach, which combines experimental and explanatory research, is applied to a study of goal alignment. Goal alignment among response actors is often recommended despite literature’s contradictory evidence regarding its effect. We conducted an experiment with 111 participants, who, in groups of three, played a computer game under one of two conditions (goal alignment or not). Our results show that aligning goals did not improve the outcome in the game. Although this may serve as a counterargument to implementing goal alignment interventions, there are concerns with such conclusions. These reservations include, but are not limited to, the lack of validated models to use in experiments. Nevertheless, our suggested research approach and the goal alignment experiment highlight the importance of testing interventions and their effectiveness before implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-231
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Disaster Risk Science
Issue number2
Early online date2021 Feb 12
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary

Free keywords

  • Design science
  • Disaster response management
  • Experimental research
  • Goal alignment


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