Emergent Phenomena and Multiorganizational Coordination in Disasters: Lessons from the Research Literature

August 2002 (VOL. 20, NO. 2)

Download this article

Research on emergent behavior and response coordination has been a significant feature of the disaster studies literature. Through a detailed review of past and recent sociological research, the following paper summarizes what is known about multiorganizational coordination. After defining what we mean by emergence and coordination, a brief discussion follows about the process by which literature was selected for this review. The article then highlights the importance of coordination for response operations, explains why it is often problematic, and provides recommendations to improve multiorganizational collaboration in disasters. The article concludes with implications for the theory and practice of emergency management.