“Online Collaboration and Decision Making to
Prepare against a Crisis: A Comparative Study”
- 2009 ISCRAM Summer School Edition -
Manchester Business School
1. Research Objectives
2. Research Framework
3. Research Questions
4. Methods and Processes
1. Research Objectives
investigates characteristics of communication, collaboration and decision
making processes amongst stakeholders in crisis management.
explores applicability of ICT to crisis management to support collaborative
practices and multi-criteria decision making.
analyses the impact of ICT on societal decision making processes in
crisis management, and on communication and decision making from
socio-technological perspective by comparing human behaviour in a
virtual environment with that in the real world.
2. Research Framework (1/2)
employs a qualitative comparative case study between UK and Japan.
explores flood in the UK and earthquake in Japan. Two cities in the UK
and two cities in Japan are selected as surveyed areas.
Cities which experienced a severe disaster over the last few decades
• Carlisle (UK) : 2005 Carlisle flood
• Nishinomiya (Japan): 1995 Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake
Cities which did not experience a severe disaster
• Manchester (UK)
• Yokohama (Japan)
focuses on “pre-disaster (i.e. before an extreme event)” phase.
uses scenarios as a foundation of communication and decision making.
2. Research Framework (2/2)
identifies and examines stakeholders based on the framework proposed
by French, Maule and Papamichail (2009)*.
- They classifies stakeholders in terms of “power (influence on the event)” and
“stake (influence from the event).”
- The following plot is an example of stakeholder classification in crisis
management based on their concept.
- This research considers the stakeholders in the coloured areas in the plot.
* French, S., Maule, J. and Papamichail, N. (2009) Decision Behaviour, Analysis and Support, Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, England.
3. Research Questions
What role do interactive ICTs such as Web 2.0 play in collaborative practices
and decision making when stakeholders prepare against a particular disaster?
In what ways and to what extent do online-based decision making processes
differ from actual face-to-face group decision making processes when
stakeholders prepare against a particular disaster?
How do Japanese and British crisis management stakeholders such as
government officials, experts and NGOs consider and evaluate ICT-supported
decision making for disaster mitigation and preparation?
To what extent is the utilisation of scenario helpful to make a decision
interactively amongst Japanese or British stakeholders about an unstructured
complex problem to prepare against a particular natural disaster?
In what ways is an online community for crisis management designed to
encourage participatory process?
4. Methods and Processes…Stage 1: Interview
【Interviews for experts】 Gain knowledge about recent crisis
management situation associated with the targeted events.
【Interviews for other stakeholders】 Understand current crisis
management practices and decision making processes, hear of lessons
learned from past experiences, and obtain hints for workshops.
4. Methods and Processes…Stage 2: Face-to-face workshop
Investigate the processes and the characteristics of actual face-to-face
(FTF) group discussion and decision making regarding particular disaster
mitigation and preparation issues, and compare them with virtual
discussion and decision making.
Examine the usefulness of scenarios to support discussion and decision
FTF workshops are a pilot study, so participants are recruited from the
students in the University of Manchester instead of actual stakeholders.
4. Methods and Processes…Stage 3: Online workshop (1/2)
Examine online-based discussion and decision making to prepare against
a disaster, and confirm its impression and satisfaction compared with
daily FTF meetings.
Analyse the applicability of scenario approach in online discussion and
Two types of online workshops are organised to compare different
Electronic meeting system (EMS) workshop
Second Life (SL) workshop
4. Methods and Processes…Stage 3: Online workshop (2/2)
EMS workshop procedure conforms to FTF workshop procedure.
Participants engage in almost same tasks during a workshop. Each
workshop is held for a few days, and the participants join the discussion
when they are available. They discusses based on a scenario.
Two SL workshops are held at Manchester Business School’s SL site.
The workshops examine the potential of three-dimensional
communication environment provided by the latest ICT. Participants are
recruited not only from FTF and EMS workshops but also in SL space.
The participants of the workshops consider usefulness of SL-based
discussion and availability of SL to crisis management.
4. Methods and Processes…Data Analysis
Collected data through three stages above are transcribed. Japanese
data are translated into English.
The transcribed and translated text data are analysed by using the
method of discourse analysis.
The videoed non-verbal data in FTF workshops are also analysed as a
complementary source of discourse.
Cross-sectional comparison and analysis is finally performed to draw a
FTF workshop transcribed (translated)
Online workshop coded categorised
FTF workshop transcribed
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This research offers favourable foundations for effective utilisation of ICT
in crisis management to promote stakeholders participation. Analysis and
comparison of collective decision making processes performed under
different communication circumstances will give meaningful implications
for the design of decision making processes and the design of ICT as a
mediator of communication.
The study presents suitable accounts of the impact of ICT application on
decision making processes and human decision behaviour.
This comparative work establishes a suitable starting point for further
cross-national research in crisis management. The study will provide
more comprehensive understanding which is not obtained from case
study in only one country.
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IT connects stakeholders to overcome extreme events…
Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake 2005 Carlisle Floods
(17/Jan/1995, Japan) (7/Jan/2005, UK)
(Source: City of Kobe, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) (Source: Cumbria County Council)
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