The Network Governance of Crisis Response: Case Studies of Incident Command Systems
Posted: 9 Oct 2009
Date Written: October 2009
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.
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