Complex Systems in Crisis: Anticipation and Resilience in Dynamic Environments

Short Description

Confronted with increasing risk and uncertainty from disruptive change, public managers seek methods to strengthen the capacity of their interdependent organizations to anticipate risk and demonstrate resilience in response to threat. The problem intensifies for public organizations that interact with private and nonprofit organizations to protect a community at risk from natural or technological disasters. It reflects the constraints placed upon human decision processes in complex environments by limited cognitive capacity, and illustrates the persistent difficulty in achieving coordination among multiple organizations with different responsibilities in different locations in serving the public interest.

This article summarizes current research on the design and development of an interactive, intelligent, spatial information system (IISIS) for decision support in the mitigation of, and response to, risk from hazardous materials for a university community. Appropriate uses of the IISIS prototype are expected to increase both the technical and organizational capacity to manage timely, accurate information exchange within and among organizations, thus increasing coordination in action.

Format and Retrieval

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Suggested Citation

Comfort, L. K., Sungu, Y., Johnson, D. and Dunn, M. (2001), Complex Systems in Crisis: Anticipation and Resilience in Dynamic Environments. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 9: 144–158. doi: 10.1111/1468-5973.00164