Manage everything or anything? Possible ways towards generic emergency management capability

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This paper explores two different approaches to information processing and learning in societal safety efforts; stressing the specifics and aiming at the general. How the two approaches relate to higher-level efforts at societal safety is discussed, as well as the relationship between the two approaches and their consequences.
As a background, the paper briefly explores the concept of generic capability - What is it? How can it be understood? How can it be developed? - and relates it to the interplay between specifics and generalities. The paper outlines examples of factors that may contribute to generic capabilities represented in the safety and emergency management literature. From the traditions of continuity management, resilience engineering and high reliability organizations examples are given and discussed in terms of focus on the specific and/or the general. 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. Conclusions regarding suggestions for practice and needs for further research are presented.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of TIEMS annual conference
PublisherThe International Emergency Management Society
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event21st TIEMS Annual Conference, 2014 - Niigata, Japan
Duration: 2014 Oct 202014 Oct 23


Conference21st TIEMS Annual Conference, 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Emergency management
  • generic capability
  • all-hazards approach
  • learning
  • training


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