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The Network Governance of Crisis Response: Case Studies of Incident Command Systems


Donald P. Moynihan


University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

December 1, 2008

La Follette School of Public Affairs Working Paper No. 2008-020

Abstract:     
This article examines the application of a structural innovation known as Incident Command Systems (ICS) in different crises. The ICS seeks to coordinate multiple response organizations under a temporary hierarchical structure. The ICS is of practical interest because it has become the dominant mechanism by which crisis response is organized in the United States. It is of theoretical interest because it provides insights into how a highly centralized mode of network governance operates. Despite the hierarchical characteristics of the ICS, the network properties of crisis response fundamentally affects its operations, in terms of the coordination difficulties that multiple members bring, the ways in which authority is shared and contested between members, and the importance of trust in supplementing formal modes of control.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 53

Keywords: Incident Command Systems, hierarchy, networks, crisis, crisis response, network governance, trust, authority, coordination

JEL Classification: D74, D81, H77, L31, L33

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Date posted: December 8, 2008  

Suggested Citation

Moynihan, Donald P., The Network Governance of Crisis Response: Case Studies of Incident Command Systems (December 1, 2008). La Follette School of Public Affairs Working Paper No. 2008-020. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1311597 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1311597

Contact Information

Donald P. Moynihan (Contact Author)
University of Wisconsin - Madison - Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs ( email )
1180 Observatory Drive
Madison, WI 53706-1393
United States
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