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Crisis Decisionmaking, Disaster/Emergency Response, and Emergent Networks Professor Mario Rivera PADM 524.

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1 Crisis Decisionmaking, Disaster/Emergency Response, and Emergent Networks
Professor Mario Rivera PADM 524

2 Characteristics Defining a Major Crisis
Disasters like Katrina are by definition major crises. Crises are situations involving: Threats to major values—high organizational and personal stakes, organizational and personal threats Threats to survival (of the nation or community, of cities and people). Time urgency; time pressures. Ambiguity or uncertainty. Surprise or uniqueness. Cannot be entirely anticipated and overwhelm cognitive and institutional resources even when they can be anticipated (as was Katrina Insufficient information, insufficiency of resources, and a sense of human and institutional insufficiency. Jerrold M Post “The Impact of Crisis-Induced Stress on Policy Makers,” in Avoiding Inadvertent War, ed. A. George. Boulder: Westview Press. 2. Irving Janis and Leo Mann Decision Making: A Psychological Analysis of Conflict, Choice, and Commitment. New York: The Free Press.

3 Information, Novelty, and Crises
Crisis situations are by definition novel, unstructured threats, well outside of an organization’s or individual’s customary operating framework. Crises require nonprogrammed decisional responses. Crises are highly uncertain and complex situations. Crises are characterized by an overload of incomplete, conflicting information combined with a sense of insufficiency with regard to critical information. The process of perceiving, collecting, selecting, and processing information is critical to effective crisis management Reilly, A.H “Preparing for the Worst: The Process of Effective Crisis Management.” Industrial and Environmental Quarterly. Vol. 7, No. 2. Page 118.

4 Characteristics of defective decisionmaking in crises—decisional dysfunctions
A truncated and compressed time span, with much more attention paid to the immediate consequences of action than to its long-range consequences. A tendency toward decisional closure—rushed decisions—which may in turn lead to premature action; or, conversely, A tendency toward defensive avoidance—putting off decisionmaking until more information comes in, waiting for “optimal” moment to act, procrastination. Cognitive rigidity, a tendency to maintain a fixed mind-set and not be open to new information; diminished creativity. A tendency to reduce cognitive complexity and uncertainty by oversimplifying options, using rules of thumb, reducing the range of options considered, taking first good option—i.e., “satisficing.” “Buyer’s regret.” Post, Janis & Mann, Simon.

5 Defective Decisionmaking
In considering options, a tendency to “bolster,” that is to overvalue and overcommit to factors favor the desired option, or action prescription, and devalue and set aside factors militating against that desired course of action. A tendency toward faulty historical analogy. A tendency toward the fundamental attribution bias: To see the other’s actions as being precipitated by internal (psychological) causes rather than external circumstances (example: my adversary’s actions show that s/he is malevolently out to destroy us, rather than that s/he responding to external threats)—demonization, caricature. With sustained cognitive conflict and increasing value conflict, there is a tendency toward the emotional loading of chosen options: Choices are often rationalized by such statements as “We've run out of options,” when in fact good options remain to be considered. Groups do not want to revisit decisions that have been painful to reach Alan Dowty, Janis & Mann

6 Decisional dysfunction and the Katrina response
Before Katrina made landfall, Governor Kathleen Blanco had requested “emergency protective measures, direct Federal Assistance, Individual and Household Program … assistance, Special Needs Program assistance, and debris removal.” She was frustrated that FEMA Director Brown wanted itemized requests. Blanco told President Bush: “Mr. President, we need your help. We need everything you've got.” On Friday, August 26, 2005, when Blanco declared a state of emergency. Look for other examples of decisional dysfunction.

7 Attribution bias in the Katrina response
Saturday, August 27, 2005: Blanco asked President Bush to declare a federal state of emergency for Louisiana. Bush quickly complied. The National Guard remained under state control. Blanco refused Bush administration requests to federalize the National Guard. “They wanted to take over my National Guard,” said Blanco—an attribution of nefarious designs on Bush’s part, on her prerogatives as Governor . While Blanco may have over-relied on a federal response that was slow to come, she also exhibited great reluctance to federalize the state’s response to Katrina, specifically federalization of the Louisiana National Guard. Brown seemed to rely overmuch on the layered and stage-wise response to major emergencies envisioned in FEMA protocols and in the National Incident Management System.

8 Decisional Patterns Vigilance – a good response—f llowing a methodical, high-quality process to objectively collect available information, thoroughly consider it, search for other possible options, and make a well reasoned decision; use of discernment in both addressing problems and selecting options Unconflicted adherence – continuing with the current situation, most often a sign of inertia, inertial dysfunction Unconflicted change – following the last advice received. Defensive avoidance – avoiding decision making altogether. A form of procrastination. Hypervigilance – The Inability to distinguish (or discern) the critical or crucial from the unimportant; equal attentiveness to all stimuli; undifferentiated scanning—leads to a vacillating approach. Source: Fink, Steven Crisis Management: Planning for the Inevitable. New York: Amacom. Pages 133–150.

9 “Groupthink” “a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group…members’ striving for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternate courses of action… a deterioration of mental efficiency, reality testing, and moral judgment that results from in-group pressures.” Source: Neck, C.P., and Manz, C.C “From Group Think to Teamthink: Toward the Creation of Constructive Thought Patterns in Self-Managing Work Teams.” Human Relations. Vol. 47, No. 8. Quote taken from Victims of Groupthink, by I.L. Janis (Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 1972), p. 9.

10 Related Symptoms of Defective Crisis Decisionmaking
Incomplete survey of alternatives. Incomplete survey of objectives. Failure to examine risks associated with preferred choices. Failure to reappraise initially rejected alternatives. Poor information search. Selective bias in processing information at hand. Failure to work out contingency plans. Janis & Mann, Dowty, Neck & Manz

11 Responsibilities of the crisis decisionmaker—overcoming dysfunctional tendencies, pressures
Define the crucial elements of the crisis situation Maintain receptivity to new information Identify and adequately consider the major values and interests to be addressed, and objectives to be fulfilled Search for and evaluate alternative courses of action Estimate the probable costs and risks of alternatives Seek new information pertinent to assessment of options Sift relevant/important from irrelevant/trivial information Consider problems that may arise in implementing options Assess the situation from the perspective of other parties Resist pressures toward both defensive avoidance (putting off a decision) and premature closure (rushing to decision) Monitor the developing situation and make adjustments as actions are taken (avoid the decision/action fallacy).

12 Decisional Limits in Disaster/Emergency Response
While authority, leadership, and accountability are always needed, collaboration functions better than over-centralized command-and-control approaches in major crises, whether natural or man-made. Catastrophes (from weather to terror events) require decentralized decisionmaking structures and collaborative networks of exchange and support. A decentralized network will often emerge in the post-event environment of a large-scale disaster. The challenge is to maximize collaboration and communication across that network (the Boston Marathon bombings have once again raised the question of ‘stovepiping’ across agencies, of lack of intergovernmental integration). Kettl: organize vertically, and work horizontally. Disasters disrupt the patterns of what can be absorbed by routine procedures. These types of events typically require improvisation, but over-improvisation is dysfunctional. However, emergent organization can shapes responses based on a synergistic combination of experience and improvisation. Think of many spider webs as opposed to a hierarchy Although authority and accountability is necessary, centralized command and control structures do not work. Model incorrectly assumes: government as only responder; information outside official channels is lacking or inaccurate; the emergency personnel are likely to leave their post, that standard operating procedures will always function; that citizens are inept passive and irrational; that society will breakdown, and that ad hoc emergence is counter productive Better to encourage resource management approach and communication and coordination; Emergence fills a void and cannot be stopped, There is more than one way to organize, There is order in even what seems like chaos. Drabek T. E. and D.A. McEntire Emergent Phenomena and Multi-organizational Coordination in Disasters: Lessons from the Research Literature. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters. August, 22(2), Tierney, K.J “Lessons Learned from Research on Group and Organizational Responses to Disasters.” Paper presented at Countering Terrorism: Lessons Learned from Natural and Technological Disasters. Academy of Sciences, Feb. 28-March 1. 12

13 Incident Management Systems (IMS)
A generic term for the design of ad hoc emergency management teams that coordinate the efforts of more than one agency under a unified command A functional management system that integrates personnel from different home organizations IMS involve identification of an incident manager or unified management team when jurisdictional areas or responsibilities overlap IMS entail rules for chain of command, unity of command, and span of control Standard terminology is intended to facilitate cooperation (although some regional variance in terminology still remains) Protocols for communications and flow of information Emphasis on logistics planning and centralized resources allocation Planning should functions on an equal level with operations and logistics functions Christen, H., P. Maniscalco, A. Vickery, & F. Winslow “An Overview of Incident Management Systems.” Perspectives on Preparedness. Executive Session on Domestic Preparedness. No. 4 (Sept.).

14 Emergent Organization in Disaster Response
Even with IMS in place, disasters evoke emergent responses. “Emergence is likely when members perceive a present threat, when the social climate is supportive of emergence, when social ties are in place – at least to some degree – before the mobilization, when the social setting legitimizes the groups, and when resources are available.” This is so because disasters involve situations where: Most or all of the built structure is heavily impacted, along with the facilities and operational bases of emergency organizations themselves Local officials are unable to fulfill their usual roles, often well into recovery periods Help from nearby communities is unavailable or insufficient Most everyday community functions are interrupted The mass media often distorts what has happens, in ways that feed the politicization of catastrophes and disaster response. “[Therefore] the level of emergence necessary to contend with these severe and unanticipated conditions is likely to be greater than would occur in more typical disaster situations.” Quarantelli, E.L., K.E. Green, E. Ireland, S. McCabe, and D.M. Neal Emergent Citizen Groups in Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Activities. Newark, DE.

15 Emergent Networks in Disaster Response
Emergent Multi-Organizational Networks: The “structure of relationships that form among organizations, or segments of organizations, that are focused on a specific [activities or response functions]” (Drabek, 1996: ) These typically form during the period of emergency for a limited time in order to address emerging needs In catastrophic events, EMONS are often simultaneously comprised of a range of established, expanding, extending, and emergent organizations. Emergent organizational networks are defined as such not necessarily because they are comprised of emergent groups, but because the newly-formed relationships between organizations have an emergent quality. Drabek, T.E The Social Dimensions of Disaster. Washington, DC: FEMA.

16 Emergent Groups: Benefits and Challenges
May be able to act more quickly, since they are outside of formal bureaucracies of government May have a better sense of what critical needs are when they are closer to problems on they ground, and if they are connected in functional ways to emergent systems and response networks May meet needs unidentified or not being met by formal systems May not be governed by the same standards or systems of oversight as formal organizations May have less of a feel for what critical needs are, since they not necessarily part of the formal network where critical information is directed May generate overlap, create redundancy, and compete with existing systems May be have unclear definition of leadership and authority roles May have unstable definitions of tasks May introduce more chaos or confusion into already chaotic situations Drabek, T.E. & D.A. McEntire Emergent Phenomena and the Sociology of Disaster: Lessons, Trends and Opportunities from the Research Literature. Disaster Prevention and Management, 12(2):

17 Convergence and emergence of networks
Convergence involves the influx of people to areas associated with a disaster (Kendra & Wachtendorf, 2003). Convergence is a prerequisite for emergent groups and networks, and for emergent links among organizations in the course of disaster response. Kendra, James M., and Tricia Wachtendorf, 2003. Reconsidering Convergence and Converger Legitimacy in Response to the World Trade Center Disaster. Terrorism and Disaster: New Threats, New Ideas (ed. Lee Clarke).

18 Network Visibility As existing groups take on new roles and other groups emerge, information about key organizations is often not known across emergent networks (which come to include both established and new groups). In catastrophic events, where convergence and emergence may play an even larger role than in typical disasters, network visibility, which allows for both open and coordinated systems, becomes paramount. Networks need to take visible form so that communications and role and task structuring can begin to take shape as well. Wachtendorf, T., B. Brown, J. Holguin-Veras, and S. Ukkusuri, and Perez. Network Visibility in Emergency Supply Chain Management.

19 In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, emergent groups—previously existing agencies taking up new tasks together with new groups—formed new organizational networks as they contended with the disaster. Some played more dominant roles than others in different stages of the response and early recovery, with respect to different tasks, and in different communities. Some capacities, such as Coast Guard search-and-rescue, were so pre-programmed and at the same time well-fitted to the situation at hand, that they were immediately effective. These immediately-capable agencies often formed the nucleus for the self-organization of emergent responses.

20 Katrina Experience—Decisional failures
Lack of adequate plans for essential things like evacuation Flawed local planning process Loss of local command and control facilities Lack of coordination among organizations of all types: volunteers, Coast Guard, Red Cross, medical providers Lack of initiative, as in the waste of city buses which could have been mobilized for evacuation and instead ended up under water. Lack of creativity or resilience, as in the instance of refusal of Amtrak’s offer to fill its last train out of the city with evacuees Lack of expertise Governor’s refusal to nationalize National Guard; political pettiness on the part of various key players. 20 (C) Murray Turoff 20

21 Statutory Constraints: the Stafford Act
The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (1988) calls for disaster and emergency declarations for events that overwhelm state and local capability. These trigger statutory authority and access on the part of FEMA to a Disaster Relief Fund to provide federal direct aid and financial assistance to render emergency services. Along with the legislation that created the agency, this Act authorizes FEMA to coordinate the administration of all disaster relief. A Governor must execute the given State’s emergency plan and indicate in writing that the situation is of such severity and magnitude that effective response is beyond the capabilities of the State and affected local governments and supplemental Federal assistance is necessary. A Disaster Declaration made by the President specifies the types of assistance authorized for that state. A Governor’s request is not necessary for the President to issue an emergency declaration if it involves a “Federal primary responsibility.” Such responsibility rests with the United States government because the emergency involves a subject area for which, under the Constitution or federal laws, the United States exercises exclusive or preeminent responsibility and authority. Examples: Direct federal action after the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in 1995; the Pentagon attack in 2001; and the Shuttle Columbia explosion in 2003. 21 21

22 Statutory Constraints: the Posse Comitatus Act
Latin: "power or force of the county" The Posse Comitatus Act was originally enacted in 1878; intended to ensure military subordination to a strong civil authority “Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than two years, or both.” What is “direct assistance”? Active, as opposed to passive, use of military personnel; or if it pervades/fully subsumes the activities of civilian law enforcement; or if military personnel subject citizens to the exercise of military power that is regulatory (controls or directs), proscriptive (prohibits or condemns), or compulsory (exerts some coercive force) in nature

23 Research Findings Early presidential involvement is necessary for a timely, well-coordinated federal response. And the President must have the counsel of emergency management professionals in order to make appropriate and timely decisions. Former FEMA Director James Lee Witt predicted that “The emphasis on terrorism preparedness in the aftermath of September 11th, [and] the transfer of FEMA to the Department of Homeland Security may result in decreased emphasis on mitigation and natural hazards” Former President Bill Clinton argued that it should be “required that any future head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency have prior experience in emergency management. When a disaster strikes, that person [the FEMA director] becomes the most important person in the federal government.” However, the Directorship became a patronage job—hence Brown’s appointment. Kettl, Donald F. (2007). System Under Stress: Homeland Security and American Politics. 2nd Ed. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly.

24 Research Findings When it comes to bureaucracy, bigger is not always better. Once absorbed into the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA lost its cabinet level status and budget independence. It was also the case that its disaster-response mission became subsumed under the counter-terror mission of DHS. Removing FEMA from the DHS and re-establishing it as an independent agency with a cabinet-level Director responsible directly to the president would position it better and give it the resources to accomplish its goals and respond to disasters – whether natural or human-made. Regardless of the location in the federal government, FEMA’s Director must have a direct reporting relationship to the President during periods of disaster and emergency declarations.

25 Creation of the DHS post-September 11, 2001
Post-9/11 assessments revealed that 112 different federal agencies and departments had some role in protecting the homeland. This underscored the need for interagency consolidation, cooperation, and solid working relationships among federal, state, and local governments. Consolidation of agencies and duties in a new Department of Homeland Security was considered a requirement for effective homeland defense. Integration of threat analysis, sharing of information and intelligence across Federal agencies and down to state and municipal governments was required, as well as a general increase in scope of Federal law enforcement role. However, the FBI, CIA, and Defense intelligence agencies kept themselves out of DHS and resist any exercise of its jurisdiction. Subordinating the FEMA disaster-response mission and role to that of terror-response seriously weakened agency capabilities. Moreover, there was an exodus of its top-flight officials and much of the agency’s best talent, as demoralization occurred with the agency’s integration into DHS.

26 Layered and sequenced response—local to federal
Capabilities and Resources Federal Response State Response Regional / Mutual Response Systems Local Response, Municipal and County Minimal Low Medium High Catastrophic Increasing magnitude and severity

27 Strategic View of Disaster Response
Defining, articulating: What is the nature and scope of the emergency? What are the values involved? Strategic managerial leadership: individual and systemic What authorizers & resources need to be involved and aligned? White House, FEMA, Governor, Mayor, Red Cross, FBI and local police, etc. What operational capabilities and resources are required?

28 Creating Public Value—Mark Moore
Three elements must be coherently aligned in strategic management:  The change strategy must be substantively valuable in the sense that the organization or the program produces things of value to authorizers, stakeholders, clients, & beneficiaries at relatively low cost with regard to money and authority.   It must be legitimate and politically sustainable. The organization or program must be able to continually attract both authority and funding from the political authorizing environment to which it is ultimately accountable.   It must be operationally and administratively feasible in that projected activities can actually be accomplished by the existing organization and whatever essential supplemental resources can be secured.

29 Moore’s Strategic Triangle
Politics (Politically and Legally Supported?) Creating Public Value Operations (Is it administratively feasible?) Outcomes (Is it operationally feasible?) Mark Moore, Creating Public Value; Strategic Management in Government, 1995, Harvard.

30 Area with greatest potential for managerial discretion and impact
Mark Moore: Creating Public Value

31 Strategic View of Disaster Response 2
Public Value entails defining & articulating the following: What is the nature & scope of the emergency? What values are involved? Discretionary, strategic exercise of managerial leadership: individual and systemic Operational Capacity: What operational capabilities and resources are required? How are they to be mobilized? Authorizing Environment: What authorizers & resources need to be involved and aligned?

32 Addendum 1: Decisional syndromes and patterns found in organizations in crisis
From Alan Dowty, "U.S. Decision-Making Under Stress: 1973," International Political Science Association, 1979, and Irving Janis and Leo Mann, Decision Making: A Psychological Analysis of Conflict, Choice, and Commitment (New York: The Free Press, 1977).

33 Addendum 1: Decisional syndromes and patterns found in organizations in crisis
Decisional conflict is likely to occur in crises--understood to mean situations involving high organizational and personal stakes, time pressures, and insufficient information. One form of decisional conflict, value conflict, occurs when there are irreconcilable or difficult-to-reconcile values at stake. Symptoms of cognitive dissonance in decisionmaking include defensive avoidance, premature closure, bolstering, and overcommitment to one option over others.

34 Addendum 1 Decisional conflict will remain high if no reconciling values or other resolution can be found. Research suggests that, depending on the case, crisis decisionmaking may be functional or dysfunctional. Janis & Mann and Dowty found, in their review of recurring findings in the literature, that the greater the crisis, 1. the greater the conceptual or mental rigidity on the part of decisionmakers, and the more closed to new information they become; 2. the greater the use of (often faulty) historical analogy; 3. the greater the felt need for information; 4. the more information that goes to the top of the organizational and decisional pyramid;

35 - 5. the greater the reliance on improvised channels of communication and information—the effective flow of information and effective communications may actually diminish; 6. the more active, but also more random and less productive the search for information; 7. the more frequent the consultation with persons outside the core decisionmaking unit, depending on the amount of time that is available to decisionmakers; 8. the greater the felt need for face-to-face proximity in making decisions; 9. the greater the likelihood of interpersonal and group conflict within decisionmaking units, particularly if the crisis extends significantly beyond expectations; and 10. the greater and more sustained the group conflict involved in reaching agreement , the more resistant a group becomes to rival analyses or conflicting information;

36 15. the more costly and time-intensive information search may become;
11. the more improvised--ad hoc--the organization of decisionmaking units is likely to become; 12. the more likely that decisionmaking will become unusually centralized (contrary to the best models of crisis response, which involve emergence and incorporation of multi-agency and IG response; 13. the more likely that decisionmakers will become over-concerned with the immediate rather than medium- or long-term consequences of action; 14. the greater the search for alternatives and options, particularly if there is real consultation; 15. the more costly and time-intensive information search may become; 16. the greater small group pressures for consensus may become;

37 - 17. the more likely, with increasing value conflict, that there will be emotional loading of chosen options—rationalized by such statements as "We've run out of options;" 18. the greater the spontaneous regret that may follow a decision, even before new information arises that calls the decision into question (similar to “buyer’s remorse”); 19. the greater the likelihood of decisional bolstering, as regret, continuing uncertainty, and confounding outcomes keep the decisional process stressful and full of conflict; 20. the greater the decisional focus, or decisional vigilance (Janis), resulting in the setting aside of customary decisional procedures or their selective incorporation into new decisional processes.

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