Governing the sea rescue service in Sweden: Communicating in networks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper discusses how various actors communicate about and coordinate sea rescue activities in networks. We combine a network approach with theories of inter-organization communication to understand how communication can facilitate or limit coordination in networks. Search and rescue officers retain the overall authority to direct rescue missions, and coordination with several other professions is central to this. When coordinating different professional actors in a network it is important to develop trust, legitimacy, and a shared and uniform understanding of the situation and of how to act. Communication deficiencies often result from the fact that involved actors belong to different organizations with different cultures or representing different professions. The greatest gap we found was between those working and not working at sea, and between those habitually or seldom involved in rescue activities. Communication comprises more than simply exchanging information; it also entails the forging of relationships, to facilitate future coordination and cooperation and to develop mutual trust and understanding. In any rescue operation it is important that the actors interpret communication in the same way and act according to a shared pattern. Joint training and follow-up are important conditions for continuous learning and development in this regard.


External organisations
  • Linköping University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Communication Studies


  • Communication, Cooperation, Coordination, Governance, Interprofessional communication, Network, Search and rescue service, Sweden
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-280
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Risk Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jan 1
Publication categoryResearch
Externally publishedYes