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Exploring the Crisis Management/Knowledge Management Nexus
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), CRISMART (National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training). Radboud Univ Nijmegen, Netherlands.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), CRISMART (National Center for Crisis Management Research and Training).
2013 (English)In: Strategic Intelligence Management: National Security Imperatives and Information and Communications / [ed] Simeon Yates & Babak Akghar, Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013, 134-149 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Crises are becoming a ubiquitous phenomenon and are—like the example of Hurricane Isaac—typically surrounded by complex social and technical factors beyond the competence of generalist leaders. By their very nature, crises are associated with considerable uncertainty. Knowing this, crisis managers frequently call upon experts to provide relevant information on specific subject matter. During the past decade and a half, a theoretical and methodological field of study has emerged addressing this issue: how to find missing knowledge, transfer it to where it is most needed, and institutionalize it for future use. This subject is called “knowledge management” and is rooted in older theories on organizational knowledge and organizational learning. In fact, these very same organizational learning theories form the foundation for the post-crisis learning perspectives, which are increasingly prominent in the field of crisis management. Hence, one may question why these two management subdisciplines have not been more systematically combined and integrated. In crisis management, learning is often seen as a process that takes place after a crisis has been resolved, in preparation for the next crisis. Yet, knowledge management considers knowledge creation and learning to be a constant process. Ideally, combining these two perspectives could stimulate some kind of “instant learning” during an actual crisis, so that relevant lessons are learned and implemented for the current crisis as well as for future crises.

A potential problem with combining crisis management and knowledge management is the difference in typical time frames associated with the two management subfields. By definition, crises involve a strong element of urgency and thus require immediate action. Knowledge management, however, was born out of attempts to improve consumer product innovation cycles, which can run several months or even years. The possibility of tapping into the knowledge management techniques for finding and accessing new or unfamiliar knowledge (e.g., calling in experts) is very alluring, but the question is if such techniques can fit into the tight timeframe associated with crises.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford, UK: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2013. 134-149 p.
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Statsvetenskap med inriktning mot krishantering och internationell samverkan
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-4403DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407191-9.00012-0ISI: 000331907600013ISBN: 9780124072190 (electronic)ISBN: 9780124071919 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-4403DiVA: diva2:686213
Available from: 2014-01-10 Created: 2014-01-10 Last updated: 2017-08-02Bibliographically approved

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