USF Libraries
USF Digital Collections

Increasing problem-solving capacity between organizations

MISSING IMAGE

Material Information

Title:
Increasing problem-solving capacity between organizations
Series Title:
Quick response research report ;
Physical Description:
30 p. : ; 28 cm.
Language:
English
Creator:
Comfort, Louise K ( Louise Kloos ), 1935-
Cahill, Anthony G
University of Colorado, Boulder -- Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Publisher:
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center
Place of Publication:
Boulder, Colo
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Emergency management -- Pennsylvania   ( lcsh )
Tornadoes -- Pennsylvania   ( lcsh )
Disaster relief -- Pennsylvania   ( lcsh )
Public administration -- Decision making   ( lcsh )
Problem solving   ( lcsh )
Communication in organizations   ( lcsh )
Genre:
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (p. 29-30).
Statement of Responsibility:
Louise Comfort, Anthony Cahill.
General Note:
Title on p. 1 includes subtitle: The role of information in managing the May 31, 1985 tornado disaster in western Pennsylvania.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 001982441
oclc - 277488970
usfldc doi - F57-00006
usfldc handle - f57.6
System ID:
SFS0001087:00001


This item is only available as the following downloads:


Full Text
xml version 1.0 encoding UTF-8 standalone no
record xmlns http:www.loc.govMARC21slim xmlns:xsi http:www.w3.org2001XMLSchema-instance xsi:schemaLocation http:www.loc.govstandardsmarcxmlschemaMARC21slim.xsd
leader nam 2200385Ia 4500
controlfield tag 001 001982441
005 20090114112525.0
006 m d s
007 cr bn|||||||||
008 081210s1985 cou sb s000 0 eng d
datafield ind1 8 ind2 024
subfield code a F57-00006
035
(OCoLC)277488970
040
FHM
c FHM
043
n-us-pa
1 100
Comfort, Louise K.
q (Louise Kloos),
d 1935-
0 245
Increasing problem-solving capacity between organizations
h [electronic resource] /
Louise Comfort, Anthony Cahill.
260
Boulder, Colo. :
b Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center,
1985.
300
30 p. ;
28 cm.
440
Quick response research report ;
v #04
500
Title on p. [1] includes subtitle: The role of information in managing the May 31, 1985 tornado disaster in western Pennsylvania.
504
Includes bibliographical references (p. 29-30).
533
Electronic reproduction.
[Tampa, Fla. :
University of South Florida Libraries,
2008].
n Digitized from copy owned by Natural Hazards Center, University of Colorado at Boulder, in a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
650
Emergency management
z Pennsylvania.
Tornadoes
Pennsylvania.
Disaster relief
Pennsylvania.
Public administration
x Decision making.
Problem solving.
Communication in organizations.
700
Cahill, Anthony G.
2 710
University of Colorado, Boulder.
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center.
776
Original
w (OCoLC)39083312
773
t Natural Hazards Center Collection
049
FHMM
090
HV551.4.P4 (ONLINE)
994
C0
FHM
4 856
u http://digital.lib.usf.edu/?f57.6



PAGE 1

HAZARD"HOUSE COP-Y,\:C11"'-e.S::;CrH.-}"

PAGE 2

NaturalHazardsResearchandApplicationsInformationCenterCampusBox482UniversityofColoradoBoulder,Colorado80309-0482INCREASINGPROBLEM-SOLVINGCAPACITYBETWEENORGANIZATIONSLouiseComfortAnthonyCahill1985QuickResponseResearch Report#04This pUblication is partofthe Natural Hazards Research & Applications Information Center's ongoing QUick Response Research Report Series. http://www.colorado.edu/hazards ,I InstituteofBehavioralScience#6 (303)492

PAGE 3

Increasing Problem Solving CapacityBetweenOrganizations:TheRoleof Information i!!. ManagingtheMay lL.. 1985TornadoDisasterinWesternPennsylvaniaI.TheProblem: ExtendingProblemSolving CapacityBetweenOrganizationsFittingthe uniquecapabilitiesandlimitationsofhumandecisionmakerstothesystematicrequirementsofinterorganizationalproblemsolvingisdifficultinstableenvironments.Inthedynamic,uncertainenvironmentofemergencymanagement,the problemescalatesingeometric proportion to thescaleofthe emergency. Yet,asthesizeandcomplexityoftheemergencyincreases,theneedforinterorganizationalproblemsolvingbecomesimperativeforeffectiveaction.Howto extend problemsolvingcapacitybetweenorganizations in the complex environment ofanactualdisasterisa recurringdilemmaintheinterjurisdictionalemergency managementprocess.Tnedifficultiesarecompoundedby significant" differencesintraining,facilities,experiencesandconceptual understanding of the requirements for actionatthediverselevelsof governmentinvolvedintheemergency managementprocess.Asthelocusofdecisionmakingshiftsfromcitytocountytostatetofederallevelsofgovernmentandbackagain in a majordisaster,publicpersonnel unfamiliar with the working environmentsandculturalmoresof other governmental organizationsandjurisdictionsareexpectedtoworktogethersmoothlyandefficientlyaccording to arationallydesigned organizational plan.Inpractice,problemsolvingcapacity dropsrepeatedlyaspublicservicepersonnelmovefromfamiliaroperatingconditionsacrossorganizationalboundariesintomorecomplex, uncertainanddynamicsettings(Comfort, 1985). This problem,documentedinactualemergencyoperationssettings(Rubin, 198 5; Comfort,1985),chal1eng esestab1ishedp1ansf0rinter0rganizat ion a1

PAGE 4

2corrmandandcontrol (Giuffrida,1983). TheFedera1EmergencyManagementAgency(FEMA)hasclearlydelineatedasetof missionresponsibilitiesfor eachlevelof government involved in theemergencymanagementprocess (McLoughlin, 1985). Thisofficialdesignationofemergencyfunctionsisfurtheraugmentedbyemergency atstate,countyandcitylevels.Emergencyplanningissupportedbylegalrequirements,resultinginat'leastformal recognition ofitsutilitybyjurisdictionatalllevels.1 Thisrecurringdecreasein problemsolvingcapacityinthecomponentpartsofamultiorganizational.system runscounter,also,toobservationsofmultiorganizational response tocertainkinds ofdemandsinparticulardisastersettings.ThomasDrabeketale(1981)describeemergentmultiorganizationalnetworks in searchandrescue operations following the occurrence of a naturaldisaster.Drabeketale (1981:243)state: Emergehcy. managers mustrecognizethatdisasterresponsesin Americansocietyaremultiorganizational,emergentandfrequentlyrequireimprovisation. Emergentmultiorganizationalnetworks responding to naturaldisastersinAmericansociety are loosely coupled systems.andwillremainso.Inusingthe term, 'emergent',Drabeketa1.connote a natura1,evo1v ingsetof linkagesamongtheparticipatingorganizationsthatomitspriorrecognition ofemergencyresponsibilitiesand assessment of organizational performancecapacity.Thisanalysisdoesrecognizethatorganizationslearnthroughinteractionwith other organizationsengagedinemergencyresponseactivities.Missing, however, is acknowledgement of astatedplan forinterorganizationalemergencyresponseandthe betweenthestatedplanandactualperformance.Intheirstudy,Drabeketal.mappedthenumberandtype ofinteractionsamongamixof public organizations withemergencyresponsibilities,voluntary

PAGE 5

3organizationsthatofferedtheirservicesandindividualswhovolunteeredtheirtimeandskills.Yet, these researchers studied only aparticularphase of theemergencymanagementprocess with asingle,clearfocus, searchandrescue,andtheyselectedremoteareasastheirresearchsettings.Whiletheirfindingscharacterizethepatternsofsearchandrescueoperationsinthesesettings,theydonot appearconsistentwith themorecomplexinteractionsamongpublicorganizationsoverthefullrangeofintergovernmentalfunctionsintheemergencymanagementprocess. Their findings appear todrawuponthemoresofcooperationandmutualassistancecharacteristicofsmalltownsandruralcommunities.Incontrast,thesenormsmaynotapplytoorganizationalinteractionin more complex urbansettingswherethemembershave hadlittlepreviousinteractionor personal contact (Comfort, 1983). Inpractice,neithertheformalallocationofspecificmissionresponsibilitiesfororganizationsacrossjurisdictionalboundariesbytheFederalEmergency ManagementAgencynortheidentificationof developmentalprocessesbetweenorganizationsbyDrabeketal.explainfullythetaskofbuildinginterorganizationalproblemsolvingcapacityinemergencymanagement.This paperaddressesthelargersetofinterorganizationaloperationsin emergency managementandtheeffectsofplanningandinteractioninthepredisasterphases ofmitigationandpreparednessuponthe capacity foreffectiveinterorganizationalperformance inthepost-disasterphases ofresponseandrecovery.Thethesisofthispaperisthatinterorganizationalproblemsolvingcapacityincreasesastheflowofinformation,articulationofprofessionalnormsforselectingandinterpretingrelevantinformation,interpersonalcommunicationandregularopportunitiesforreflectionandredesignof

PAGE 6

4performanceincreaseamongtheparticipatingorganizations.Theseactivitiesarenotlikelyto'occurwithoutdesignbetweenorganizationsacrossjurisdictionalboundaries,particularlyinlargescaleemergencyoperations(Simon,1969,1981).Information,inthisprocess, playsanintegratingrole,asitcirculateswithinandbetweenparticipatingorganizations.Flowing through openandtwo-way communicationprocessesamongtheparticipatingorganizations, information creates a basis of shared understanding ofemergencyrequirementsandsupportsnormsforcollectiveactionintheemergencymanagement Theabi 1 ity' to gather, processanddisseminate information quicklyandaccurately throughthemultijurisdictionalemergency management systemservestoreduceuncertaintyateach governmentallevel,therebyincreasing theeffectivenessof performance for the systemasa whole. Withoutsystematicdesignofinterorganizationallearning processes, problemsolvingcapacitybetweenorganizations tends to decrease under conditions of uncertaintyandcomplexity.II.TheConceptof InterorganizationalProblemSolvingTheconcept of interorganizational problem solving is a construct derivedfromobservingasetofactions,individualandorganizational,directedsimu1 taneous 1y toward so 1vingdifferentaspectsofthesame1arge,comp1exproblem.Whilethe scope of the problem extendsbeyondanysingleindividual ororganization'scapacitytoaddress,asolutionisproduced frommultiple of information, timeandskill.Whenthe task of marshallingandsequencingtheseconcurrentproblemsolvingactivitiesinvolvesmultipleorganizationsandgovernmentaljurisdictionsas intheemergency management system, problem solvingassumesalevelofcomplexityanddynamicinteraction

PAGE 7

5thatdemandsanappropriateconceptualframework. Yet,interorganizationalproblemsolvingisintrinsicallydependentuponindividualproblemsolvingcapacity,andissubjecttothesameconstraintssetbypatternsofhumancognitionandmemory.Problemsolvingbetween organizations,asforindividuals,isessentiallya process of discovering"whatworks"underspecificconditions withparticular resourcas andconstraints.HerbertSimon(1977:151)describestheproblem solving processas:.aprocessofselectivetrialanderror,usingheuristicrulesderivedfromprevious experience,thatare sometimes successfulindiscoveringmeansthataremoreorlessefficaciousinattainingsomeend.Itislegitimatetoregardtheimperativesembodyingthemeansas'derived'insomesensefromtheimperativesembodyingtheends, buttheprocessofderivationisnot a deductive process,itisoneof discovery..Centraltothisproblemofdiscoveryisestablishingaclearconnectionbetweenactionsandtheirconsequences(Simon,1977:146). Direct feedbackfromactions takenallowsindividualstoassesstheconsequences, thereby determining theutilityoftheiractions.Ifeffective,the actionislikelytobediscarded in favor ofanalternative.Inmovingfromindivtdual to organizationalaction,thefeedback 1 inkage becomeslessdirect.Itislesscertainwhatactionsbywhichindividualsproducewhatconsequences.Theconnectionbetweenactionsandconsequences becomes evenmoretenuous in moving from orgal')izational tointerorganizationalproblemsolving.Itisatthispointthatproblemsolvingperformancedrops.Trialsmadeinerrorarenotcorrected.Informationessentialtoappropriateactionisnottransmittedtorelevantparticipants.Uncerta inty regarding theoutcomeof proposedactions increases,and1 earn ingamongtheparticipantsdecreases.Discoveringsolutionstocomplex problemsisa dynamicprocess,especiallyasitoccursbetweenmultipleorganizations.Fourprincipal

PAGE 8

6componentsinteractinthisprocess,withvaryinglevelsofintensityandinfluenceupontheparticipatingorganizations over time.First,the'flow of information withinandbetween theparticipatingorganizationsisessentialtodeterminingif,and whatkind,ofproblemexists.Thestyle,contentanddirectionofthisinformation flowiscriticaltoelicitingtheattentionandcooperation ofparticipantorganizationsinthe problem search (KlaussandBass,1982).Second, thearticulationof professionalnormsserves thevitalfunction of the flow of informationbyacommonlyaccepted ofcriteriatoselectthose elements in thesituationthatarecentralto the problemandthatrequire themostimmediate al location ofattentionandresources. Withoutsomemeansofinterpretingincpminginformationwithinthecontextoftheorganizations' operating environment, additional information tends to overwhelmratherthan informdecisionmakingcapacitybetweenorganizations(Comfort,1985).This tendencyismagnified underconditionsofuncertainty,wheninformation processing requirements for decisionmakinginorganizations tendtoincrease(Cheng&McKin1 ey,1983).Thethirdcomponent, interpersonal communication,drivesthedynamicofthethe process.Inmobilizing theattention,commitmentandcoordinated actionofmultipleparticipantsina complex problemsolvingprocess, thequalityandstyleof interpersonal communicationisvital(Klauss&Bass,1982).Motivatingparticipantstoovercometheinitialdoubt,incompleteunderstandingandresistanceto change inherentinanyproblemsolvingprocessisindeedmoreartthanscience,andthetaskiscomplicatedevenmorebytheinvolvementofmultipleorganizations.Inenvironments ofrelativestability,the "personal factor" (Nelson&Yates, eds.,1978)contributessubstantiallytocreatingthecommonunderstandingandtrustamongindividualsnecessary forjointaction.In

PAGE 9

7environmentsofhighuncertainty,thisqualityofinterpersonaltrustisessentialforcollectiveaction. Buildingthattrustin.amultiorganizationaloperatingenvironmentisa complexprocess,perhapsthemostdifficulttaskinvolvedincreatinganintegratedemergencymanagementsystem. Extendingtrustisinherentlya voluntaryact,andwithholdingtrust,despiteexecutive orders,administrativeregulationsorpolicystatements,isa time-honoredmechanismofresistancetochange.Recognizingthateffectiveproblemsolvingin environments of high uncertaintyrequiresbuildingasetofrelationshipsamongtheparticipant:;baseduponacommonobjectiveandshared cOmnlitments, ratherthanexterna1requirements,isacrucia1firststepingeneratingthistrust(Schoonhoven,1981).Authorityamongtheparticipa'ntsshiftsfrom a baseofforcetoone of 'wisdomorspirit' (Tonnies,1887,1957),andincentivesforindividualactionwithinthegroupshiftfrom maximizingcontrolthroughincreasingone'spoweroverotherstomaximizingeffectivenessbyincreasingone's understanding of the problemandactingaccordingly.Creatingsuch abasisforcollectiveactionbetweenorganizationsinvolvesextendingthereciprocal,bindingrelationshipscharacteristicofcommunityor 'gemeinschaft '(Tonnies,1887, 1957)into the 1 arger,morecomp1ex,relationshipscharacteristicofsocietyor'gesellschaft.'Tonnies(1887,1957:47)referredtothedistinctivecommonbondamongthemembersofa community as'consensus'or1I...thespecia1socia1forceandsympathy which keepshumanbeings togetherasmembersof a totality.1IToTonnies, consensus or understandingwasbuiltthrough language, Dr the conscious expression ofIIdeepfeelingsandprevailingthoughtsIIamongmembersof thecOlT1T1unity.Whileclearlythereareconstraintsoftimeandopportunityforintimateexpressionofpersonal thoughtsinlarge,complexorganizations, interpersonal communication

PAGE 10

8necessarilyoccurs.Thestyleofcommunicationswithinandbetweenorganizationalparticipantsmayeither inyite expressionofdifferingperceptions of a given problemandencourageactiveengagementinresponsiblesocialaction,oritmaydiscouragesuchreciprocalproblemsolvingactivity.Finally,regularopportunitiesforreflectiononactual performanceandredesign of actions baseduponincominginformation complete the learningcycle,withinaswellasbetweenorganizations(Argyris,1982). While such opportunitiesmayoccurnaturallyinsmallercommunities, theyrequiredesigninlarger,more organizational environments(Simon,1969, 1981).Competingdemandsforattentionfrommanyparticipantsengagedindiverseactivitiestendtodiffusethecommonfocusonasingleproblem (Cohen,March&Olsen,1971),andthe problemsolvingcapacity of bothindividualsandorganizations drops.Whenthe problemiscomplex, as in a naturaldisaster,andconstraintsupontimeandresources are severe, theeffectivenessof coordinated action dependsupontheextenttowhichmultipleorganizationscanconcurrentlyidentifyproblems intheirrespectiveperformances and-adjusttheiractions accordinglyinordertoaccomplishtheirshared goal (Cohen, 1981, 1984).Insummary,the concept ofinterorganizationalproblemsolvingmovesthe levelofinteractionamongindividualstoa magnitudeofabstractionthatexceedsthelimitsofhumanshort-termmemoryandinformationprocessingcapacity.Themode1ofanintegratedemergencymanagementsystem, baseduponthisconcept, simply exceeds thecognitiveabilitiesofhumandecision makers, without technicalassistance.Theproblems generatedbya naturaldisasteraresolargeandsocomplex, theystrainthe problemsolvingcapacity of managers using standardadministrativepracticesofcommandandcontrol.Opportunities forerrorincrease geometrically with the scope of thedisaster,andchances of

PAGE 11

9identifyingandcorrectingthem intimelyfashionthroughtraditionaladministrativemeansareremote. This recurringstrainuponinterorganizationalproblemsolvingcapacitywasvividlydemonstrated in theemergencymanagementprocessactivatedinresponsetotheMay31,1985tornadodisasterin Western Pennsylvania.III.InterorganizationalProblemSolving in the Western Pennsylvania TornadoDisaster,May31,1985Earlyintheeveningof May 31, 1985, aseriesoftornadoesstruckWestern Pennsylvaniawithdevastatingforce.Inlessthanfivehours,fourseparatesetsoftornadoesrippedthroughthirteencounties,destroyingvirtuallyeverythingintheirpaths.Thetornadoesleft64peopledeadandcausedanestimated$232millionlossinpropertydamage. 2 Confronted with massivedestruction,localandstateofficialsmovedimmediately to request apresidentialdeclarationofdisasterinordertoimplement the federalpoliciesondisasterreliefandrecoveryinthwshatteredcommunities.OnJune 3, 1985, PresidentReagandeclared10countiesin Pennsylvania adisasterarea. 3Thepresident'sdec1arationactivatedthe federa1government'spo1iciesintherecoveryandreconstructionphasesofthedisaster,andatthatpoint,theentireinterjurisdictionalemergencymanagementsystembecameactivelyinvolvedincoping with thedemandsof thedisaster.Thetornadodisasterprovided a sobering but timely example ofeffortsto implementaninterorganizationalcooperationandcoordination tomeetthe needsoftheaffectedfamilies,towns andcounties.Thedegreeofdevastationwassuchthatnosingleindividual,organization orjurisdictioncouldcopewithitalone.Thefullcomplementofpolicies,plansandresourcesavailablethrough theinterjurisdictionalemergencymanagementsystemdirectedbytheFEMAwasin

PAGE 12

10effect.Inshort,thebesteffortsofcurrentadministrativepoliciesandpracticeswereplacedinoperationinresponse tothisdisaster.Towhatextent didtheexpectedinterorganizationalproblemsolvingoccur,andwhatare the requirements of interorganizational problemsolvinginanactualdisaster?Thisdisastercreatedanunusualopportunitytoobservetheactivationoftheinterorganizationalemergencymanagementprocessandto assessitscapacity for problemsolving.Todoso,thisresearcher,withtheassistanceofcoinstructorAnthonyG.Cahi11and16graduatestudentsinthePol icy Seminar, SpringTerm,1985,atthe GraduateSchoolofPublicandInternationalAffairs,University of Pittsburgh, conducted a study of problemsolvingintheemergencymanag.ementprocessasitoperatedinthetornadodisasterin Western Pennsylvania.Thestudy focusedontheroleof information inemergencymanagement.Asresearchers,wewereinterestedinidentifyingtheamountandtypesofinformationavailabletodecisionmakers, aswellasthepatternsofinterpretation,communicationandapplicationofthisinformationtosolvingproblemsatdifferentlevelsofdecisionmaking intheemergency managementprocess.Inthestudy,threegroupsofdecisionmakers wereinterviewed:95citizenswhoexperiencedthedisasterandwhoconfrontedtheproblemsofprotecting themselvesandtheirfamilies;139local governmentofficialsfrom7ofthe10affectedcountiesin WesternPennsylvaniawhohadthelegalresponsibilityforfirstresponseintheircommunities;and10federalofficialswhowereresponsible for administering federalprogramsofdisasterassistanceinthethirteencountiesstruckbytornadoes infederalRegionIII,which includes Pennsylvania. Reviewing the findingsinlightof the fourcomponentsidentifiedinthe

PAGE 13

11construct ofinterorganizationalproblemsolving,severalmajor discrepanciesappearbetweentheoryandpracticeintheimplementationoftheemergency management policiesandplans.Inreferencetothefirstcomponent,theopenflowofinformationwithinandbetweenorganizations,theevidenceclearlydocuments a lack of informationavailableto decisionmakersateachlevelof problemsolvingastheyconfrontedthedemandsofthedisaster.Atthecitizens'level,lack of information about the approaching tornadoes or what todoincaseofatornadoveryseriouslyrestrictedtheirabilitytotakeeffective measures toprotectthemselvesandtheirfamilies.Table 1citesthefindingthat63outof88citizensrespondingtothequestion,or71.6%,reportedreceivinglessthan 5 minutes warning before the tornado struck.Only5citizens,or learned of the approaching tornadoesanhour ormorebefore they occurred.Whenaskedhowthey learned of the approaching tornado,60.4%ofthosecitizensresponding"tothequestionreportedthattheylearnedfromfamily,friendsorneighbors.ThesedataarecitedinTable2.Only 2citizens,or3.2%,learned of the approaching tornadoes throughpublicsirensoremergencywarningsystems.Incontrast,Tables 3, 4and5citedatafromthelocalofficials'surveyinresponse tosimilarquestions.Ofthe139localofficialsincludedinthissurvey,93wereactivelyinvolved indisasterresponseactivitiesintheircommunities.Ofthe91activeparticipantsresponding to the question,22,or24.2%,learned of the tornadomorethananhour beforeitoccurred, while 30, or33%,hadlessthanfiveminutes warning.Anadditional35.2%hadbetween5and59minutes'warning.Whenaskedhowtheylearnedofatornadointheirvicinity,nearlyhalf(48.9%)of thelocalofficialsreportedpublic sources of emergencyinformation:fireradio,NationalWeather Service,CountyDispatch

PAGE 14

Table 1TimeofCitizens'ReceptionofTornado Warning, WesternPennsylvania,May31,1985"Whendidyoufirstlearnthatatornado was inyourvicinity?"N 3-4hours11.11.1 2-3hours2 2.1 2.3 1-2hours2 2.1 2.3 30-59 minutes 2 2.1 2.3 15-29 minutes 88.49.1.5-14minutes88.49.1Lessthan 5 minutes 63 66.3 71.6 Nowarning .0.0.00.0 Afterwards 2 2.1 2.3 No 77.4Missing95100.0 100.0Validcases:88Missingcases:7Table2Sourcesof"Citizens'Tornado Warning, WesternPennsylvania, May31, 1985 "How didyoulearnthatatornado was inyourvicinity?"ReI.Adj.N % % Heardit 33.0 4.7 Saw it2122.1 33.8Family33.24.7Friend/neighbor1111.617.2Radio1111.617.2TV1313.7 20.8 Siren 1 1.11.6Emergency warning 11.11.6Noresponse3132.6Missing95100.0 100.0Validcases:64Missingcases:3112

PAGE 15

Table 3 TimeofLocalOfficials' ofTornado Warning, WesternPennsylvania,May 31, 1985"Whendidyou first learnthatatornadowasinyourvicinity?"134-6hours 3-4hours2-3hours 1-2 hours 30-.59 minutes 1.5-29minutes5-14minutesLess than5 minutesNo warning AfterwardsOtherNo Validcases:91Missingcases:2 Table 4N12118610 16 30 16o2 93-ReI. % 1.1 2.21.119.46.510.817.2 32.3 1.1.6.50.02.2100.01.12.21.119.86.611.017.5 33.01.1 6.50.0Missing100.0SourcesofLocalOfficials' Tornado Warning, WesternPennsylvania,May 1985"Howdid.you learn .thatatornadowasin your vicinity?" Jfl. eq.N% % Fire radio 53.8 4.9NationalWeather Service 4 4.35.3 County emergencydispatchsystem 3335.5 43.4Publicemergency broadcast system/Siren/bell22.22.6Communication fromorservice 1010.8 13.2 Televisionbroadcast99.711.8Radionews4 4.35.3 C.B.radio1 1.11.3 Neighbor, friend, relative77.59.2Other1415.1MissingNo 33.2 Missing 9J 100.0100.0Validcases:76Missingcases:17

PAGE 16

14Table 5 ActionsTaken by LocalOfficialsinResponsetoTornado Warning, WesternPennsylvania,May 31, 1985 "Whatdidyou do when yourealizedthetornado was actuallycoming toward. you?" Tried to warn community Tried tocontactother publicservice personnel Tried tocontact familymembersTried to warnfriendsand. neighborsSoughtshelterimmediatelyOtherDidnotbelievethere was any dangel.N4718 30 16 162112 % 29.411.218.810.0 10.0 13.1 7.5*MultipleresponsescodedNofcases: 93 Table6160*100.0ActionsTaken byLocalOfficials Directedtoward. Citizens in Responseto Tornado Warning, Western PennsylVania., May 31, 1985 "What means, if any,didyouuseto alert citizenstotheapproachingtornado?"N % Community warning system2424.0Publicemergencybroadcastingsystem 1616.0Vehicle with loudspeaker1515.0Telephone ring-down 1818.0House-to-house canvass13 13.0Other1414.0100*100.0*MultipleresponsescodedNofcases: 93

PAGE 17

15systems orcommunityemergencybroadcast system orsiren.Anadditiona 110.8%learnedofthetornadothrough communication fromtheirdepartment orotherpublicservicepersonnel. Further thalfof thelocalofficialsactivelyinvolved in thedisastert47outof93 (50.5%) reportedtheytriedtowarntheircommunitiesoftheapproachingtornadot and40outof93 (43%) reportedtheyusedthecommunity warning system or publ icemergencybroadcasting system. Table 5 presents theactionstakenbypublicofficialstreportingmultipleresponsesandTable6citesthemeansusedbylocalofficialstoalertcitizensintheircommunities t againreportingmultipleresponses.Thesedatareveala serious discrepancybetweentheeffortsoflocalofficialstowarnthecitizensintheircommunitiesoftheapproachingdangerandthecitizens'receptionofthisinformation.Clearlythe flow of information betweenlocalofficialsandcitizensdid not adequatelyfacilitateproblemsolvingtasboth groupstindividuallyandorganizationallYtsoughttorespond to the staggeringdemandsof the tornadodisaster.Atthefederallevel t thesamediscontinuityintheinformationflowaffectstheproblemsolvingprocessadverselyintheintergovernmentaladministration ofdisasterrelief.Ofthe ten federalofficialsinterviewedinthissurveYtmostfoundthelevelof informationavailabletothemregardingcharacteristicsofthetornado-strickencounties middlingatbestandtending towardlowornoinformation.Table7citesthefindingsonthisissue.Incontrasttfederalofficialsreadilyidentifiedthe kinds of informationthatw0u1dhave bee nhe1pfu1tothemintheiradministration0f federa1disasterassistanceprograms. Table 8citesthesedata.Especia11Ysi9nifi cantisthecompari son0favailab1et0desired information regardingemergencyplans forlocalgovernment,asshownin Tables 7

PAGE 18

16and8.Underfederalguidelinesfor theintegratedemergencymanagementsystem, eachcommunityisexpectedtodevelopitsownemergencyplanandrelayitto the nextlevelofgovernment,thecounty.Thecounty,inturn,developsanemergencyplan foritsjurisdictionalresponsibilities,incorporating plansandinformationfromthesetofcommunitieswithinitsboundariesintoitsdatabase.Thecountiesrelaythisinformationonto thestate,which,insequence, passesitontothe federal administration in emergencymanagement.Accordingtotheofficialplan,federalofficialsshouldhavefullaccesstovitalcharacteristicsregardingcommunitiesinvolvedinanydisaster.ThedatapresentedinTable 7showthatonly 3 out of10federalofficialsrated the dataavailabletothemregardingthelocalcountiesas high(4or5)onascaleofcompletenessrangingfrom5 to 1.Table8 showsthat5ofthe7officialsrespondingtothisquestion reportedthatinformation regarding emergency plans forlocalgovernmentswouldhavebeenveryhelpful(4or 5ona5-pointscale)intheirwork. Again,thesedatarevealthatthepresentflowofinformationdoesnot adequately support the problemsolvingprocessbetweenjurisdictionallevelsintheemergencymanagementprocess.Infurtheranalysisof the responsesfromcitizens,localofficialsandfederalofficialsengaged in problemsolvingattheirrespectivelevelsofinvolvementintheemergencymanagementprocess, the datacitelittlesupportfortheotherthreecomponentsidentifiedasintegraltoeffectiveinterorganizationalproblemsolving.Inreferencetothearticulationofpro fess ion a1normst0assistinscreeningandpro cessinginformat ion t0facilitateproblemsolving,44.5%of thecitizensinterviewed reportedthatthey "nevergot information"frompublicofficialsor agencies aboutwhattodoina tornado. Table 9citesthe datainresponse tothisquestion.Fewercitizens,

PAGE 19

Table7 Types and CompletenessofInformationAvailabletoFederalOfficialsin Managing DisasterRelief,WesternPennsylvania,May 31, 1985Tornadoes17"Howcomplete was the inf'ormation thatyou hadregardingvitalcharacteristics ofcountiesinWesternPennsylvania?"Pleaserate from 5= completeinformation to1=no inf"ormation..i 4 .l21 !!!L TotalPopulation characteristics 24211010 Infrastructure: roads,bridges,tunnels012 24110Industrial plants,construction0014 4110 Emergencyplans for localgovernments 212 3 1 110Residentialconcentrations124 3 0 010Medical facilities 0114 3 110Utilities022 3 1210 Transportationairport,ra.1lways, heli-port22 :3 21010 Publicbroadcasting stations0412 2110Other01 0020 3 N ofcases: 10NR=NoResponse

PAGE 20

This pageISblankormissing

PAGE 21

Populationcharacteristics61 1010 Infrastructure: roads,bridges,tunnels10 3 1 3 1 Industrial plants;construction12 21 3 0Emergencyplansforlocalgovern-ments412002Residentialconcentrations4 41000Medicalfacilities041 121Utilities1 5 1021Transportationaccess: airport, railways,heliport 3 21012Publicbroadcastingsystem0 3 102 3 Other0000 00Validcases:9 Missing case:1NR=NoResponse19Table 8 Types ofInformationaboutLocal CommunitiesDesiredbyFederalOfficialsintheAdministrationofDisasterRelief,WesternPennsylvania, May31,1985 Tornadoes ''What kindsofinformationwould have been mosthelpfultotyouinassessingtheimpactofthetornadoesuponthecommunitiesof Western Pennsylvania?"Pleaserate from 5=mosthelpfulto1=leasthelpful.MostLeastHelpfulHelpful ...2.. 4 -L 21NRTotal9 .9 999999 9o

PAGE 22

20butstillnearly 30%, reportedtheyreceivednoinformationfrompublicofficialsregardingotherkindsofemergencies.ThesedataarepresentedinTable10. Morevividweretheresponsesfromcitizenswho.voluntarilystatedtheyhad"neverseenatornadobefore"and';didn'tknowwhattodo.,,4 Incontrast, 67% ofthecitizens,asshowninTable11,statedthatwarning systemswouldhavehelpedthemmosttoprotectthemselves,theirfami1iesandtheirpropertyfromthetornado.Themajorityofcitizensacknowledgedthattheintroductionofprofessionalmeansofidentifyingthelevelofriskinemergencieswouldhelpthemtotakeprotectivemeasures.Withoutpubliceducationtoassistcitizensininterpretingthesymptomsofatornadoandintakingappropriatesafetymeasures,emergency warningsorpUblicannouncementsbylocalofficialshavelittleeffect.Whenaskedfortheirprofessionaljudgmentregardingtheeffectivenessoftheemergencyplansintheircommunities,only11.8%ofthelocalofficialswhoparticipatedindisasterresponseactivitiesreported"veryeffective."Nearlytwicethatproportion,22.6%,oftheofficialsreportedtheplansintheir cOlMlunities tobe"notsoeffective;notatalleffective"orreported"noplanincommunity."Thesedata,citedinTable12,showthatlocalofficialswereoperatingtomeetthedemandsofthedisasterintheircommunitieswithoutthedegreeofprofessionalplanningthatwouldhavefacilitatedtheiremergencyresponseprocess.Federa 1officia1s,aswe11,reportedtheneedforbettermanagementofinformationamongtheorganizationsparticipatingintheemergencyresponseandrecoveryprocess.5 Individua1comments statedthedesirabilityofmoreprofessionaltrainingandinteractionbetweenthejurisdictionallevelsintheemergency managementsystem.

PAGE 23

21Table 9Citizens'Receptionof Information fromPublicOfficials Regarding Tornado Emergencies, WesternPennsylvania,May 31,1985 Disaster"Have youevergotteninformation from publicabout what todoin a tornado?Ifso,how?"Publiceducation program Brochures PublicannouncementsTelevisionRadioSchool Prior knowledge,intuitionNevergotinformationOthersourcesof information officialsoragencies .JL% 10 9.4 6 5.2 7 6.51513.9 11 10.3 4 3.75 4.648 .44.5 21.9 108* 100.0*Multipleresponsescoded;missing data excludedNofcases: 95 Table 10 .Citizens'Receptionof Information fromPublicOfficials Regarding OtherEmergencies, WesternPennsylvania,May31,1985 Disaster"Have youevergotteninformation from publicofficialsoragenciesabout what todoifotherkindsofemergencies happen? Ifso,how?"N % Publiceducation program BrochuresPublicannouncementsTelevisionRadio School Prior knowledge,intuitionNevergot information Other*Multipleresponsescoded;missing data excludedNofcases: 95 116 9 37 1612 38 7 127* 8.74.77.129.112.6.81.629.9 5.5 100.0

PAGE 24

11 WY KINOSOfINFORMATION WOULD UAVEHELPEDYOUPROTECTYOURSELF,YOURFAMILYORPROPERTYFROHTilE TORNADO BETTER1MOtherWarntngfamily SafetyRadtoSystemsFirst AidlUtility SafetyHeasuresWarning 'lot lines jSlrens.etc.)Hedlc1neConnectionsPlanH 1 N S H S H S H SHSN HelpedHost57 63.3 57 62.2 3134.361 67 4954.45561.17278.3(5) HelpedHoderately16 17.8 88.81213.39 9.913 14.4 12:13.399.8 (4) tlelped Sooewhat 1 1.8 5 5.51011,188.813 14.4 9103 3.3(3) Helped Little3 3.3 1 1.713 14.44 4.4 6 6.7 4 4.4 2 2.2(2) Uelpe<1 Least7 7.81415.42426.799.99101011.166.5(1)Total ValidCases90 100.091100.090100.091.100.090100.090100.092 "100.0Invalid Cases( HissingData) 54 5 4 5 ..! 3----N NToUI Cases95 9595 95 959595

PAGE 25

23Inreferencetointerpersonalcommunication,thethirdrequirementofinterorganizationalproblemsolving,thedatasuggestthatrespondentsateachleveloftheemergency managementsystemcommunicate moreeasilyandfrequentlywithparticipantsattheirownlevelthanwithparticipantsatotherlevels,despitetheinterjurisdictionaldemandsoftheemergencymanagementprocess.Table13reportsthatthelargestgroupofcitizensturnedfirsttofamily,friendsorneighborsforassistanceafterthetornado.Whilenearlyone-third, 32.3%, ofthelocalofficialsreportedthatlocal,stateandfederalagenciesworkedto analyzeandshareneededinformation"quiteorveryeffectively,approximatelyone-fifth, 19.4%, statedthatagenciesatthethreedifferentlevelsofgovernmentworkednotsoeffectivelyornotatalleffectivelytomeetinformationneeds.Moresignificantly,one-fourthofthelocalofficials, 25.8%, didnotrespondtothisquestion,demonstratingareluctancetomake a judgmentabouttheeffectivenessofinteragencyperformanceonthiscriticaltask.ThesedataarepresentedinTable14.Atthefederallevel,officialsreportedtheneedforcontinualinterchangeofinformationamongparticipatingpublicagenciestoimprovetheemergencymanagementprocess.AttheDisasterFieldOfficeinMeadville,Pennsylvania,theFedera1CoordinatingOfficerscheduleddailystaffmeetingstocoordinateinformationwithinandbetweenfedera1 andstateagencies.6 Thesefindingsdocumenttheimportanceofinterpersonalcommunication inthedynamicoperatingenvironmentofadisaster.Onthefinalrequirementforaneffectiveinterorganizationalproblemsolvingprocess,reflectionandredesign,allthreegroupssurveyedevidencedthoughtfulreviewoftheprocess.Ofthecitizenrespondents,77%hadsuggestionsforchange,focusingprimarilyonbettermeansofinformationflow,professionalplanningandeducation.ThesedataarecitedinTable15.Among

PAGE 26

24Table12PerceivedEffectivenessofCommunity EmergencyPlans,LocalOfficialsInvolvedinResponseActivities,WesternPennsylvania, May31,1985 TornadoDisaster"In yourprofessional judgment,howeffectivewastheemergencyplanin your communityfortheassignmentofemergencyresponsibilitiesandcoordinationofactionamongpublic service agencies?" Very effectiveQuiteeffectiveModeratelyeffectiveNotso e!:fecti ve NotatalleffectivePlannotactivatedNoplanincommunityOtherNo response Valid cases:85 Missing cases: 8Table 13 N1122278 449 3593 Rel. Freq .1L. 11.8 23.7 29.0 8.6 4.3 4.3 9.7 3.25.4 100.0 12.9 25.9 31.7 9.44.7 4.710.6Missing Missing 100.0CommunicationPatternsinRequestingDisasterAssistance,Citizens' Survey, WesternPennsylvania,May 31,1985 Tornadoes"Justafterthe tornado passed, whatdidyou dotogethelp?"N%Assistance came tome1920.6 Went to,orcalled, local officials88.7 Went to,or called, RedCross 3 3.3 Wentto,or called,family,friends orneighbors J4 37.0 Went to,orcalled, church or church members22.2 HelPed others4 4.3 Otherresponses 13 14.1Didnotneedhelp 3 3.3 Nothing;didn't Imow whattodo6 6.5 92*100.0*Multiple responses coded;missingdataexcludedN of cases: 95

PAGE 27

25Table 14LocalOfficials'PerceptionofIntergovernmentalCooperationRegarding InformationManagement, WesternPennsylvania,May 31, 1985 TornadoDisasterReI. Freq.% N"In your professional judgment,how effectivelyhavelocal,state and federalagenciesworkedtogather, analyzeandshare neededinformationinthis disaster?"Very effectively Quite effectivelyModeratelyeffectivelyNotso effectively Notat all effectivelyOtherNoresponse17 13 14810724 9318.3 14.0 15.08.610.8 7.5 25.8100.027.5 21.022.0 13.0 16.2MissingMissing100.0Table 15 Citizens'SuggestionsforPublicActiontoProtect CommunityinFuture Emergencies, WesternPennsylvania, May31, 1985 Tornado Disaster"What suggestionswould you make topublicofficials in orderto protectyourcommunity in future emergencies?"Emergency managementplan PubliceducationWeathermonitoring Warning/siren systemPublicresponseissatisfactoryPublicresponseisnot satisfactory NoresponseN10 177 39 9211 95 ReI. Freq ...L 10.617.97.441.19.42.011.6100.011.920.2 8.3 46.410.72.8Missing100.0Valid cases: 84Missingcases:l1

PAGE 28

26localofficials, 42% offered suggestions for change, emphasizing theneedforimprovedcommunication, organization,coordinationandcooperation.?Federalofficialsstressedthe importance ofmanagingthe information theirdecisionprocess,recommendingtheutilizationofappropriatecomputertechnologytoassistin coping with boththegreatvolumeandrapidrateofchange ininformationinvolvedindisastermanagement. 8 Thesefindingsdocumenttheimportanceofreflectionandredesignfortheproblemsolvingprocess.Moresignificant,they demonstratethattheparticipantsinthistornadodisasterare aware ofthis need andare already engaginginreflectiononhowto improve the problemsolvingprocess for future emergencies. Thisisacriticalstage for the thoughtful review of performanceateachlevelof the interorganizationa1emergencymanagementprocessanda necessaryfirststepinitsredesign formoreeffectiveperformanceasa system.IV.Requisite Conditions for InterorganizationalProblemSolvingThedatafromthesurveysofcitizens,localofficialsandfederalofficialsinvolvedinthe tornadodisasterinWesternPennsylvania underline theimportanceofthefourcomponentsidentifiedearlierasessentialtointerorganizationa1 problemsolving.Theinformationrequirementsforinterorganizational problemsolvinginadisasterofthismagnitudeandscopeoverwhelmedtheexistingpatterns of information flow, professional planningandinterpersonal corrununication. Citizens, localofficialsandfederalofficialsfoundseriousdiscrepanciesbetweentheamountandkindsofinformationavailabletothemandtheamountandkinds of informationthatwouldhave helpedthemto meetthedemandsofthedisastermorequickly,appropriatelyandefficiently.Interorganizationa1 problemsolvingrequires adistinctivemodeof

PAGE 29

27informationgathering,processinganddisseminationthatwillextendhumanproblem solvingcapacitiesincomplex, uncertainsettings.Themostinterestingfinding of the study, however,isthatsignificantproportionsofeach groupsurveyedareawareofthisdiscrepancybetweenavailableanddesiredinformation.This awareness,highestimmediately fol lowing adisaster,canserveas avitalelementininitiatingchangeateachlevelintheintergovernmentalemergency managementprocess.Advances in telecommunicationsandcomputer technology provide the technicalcapabilityforinterorganizationaldecisionsupport.Designingandimplementingtheirappropriateusebecomescentraltotheeffectivedevelopmentofinterorganizationalproblemsolvinginanintegratedemergency management system.Increasingthetechnicalcapacitytomanageinformationwouldfacilitateand extendthesubstantialdegree ofinterorganizationallearning demonstratedbycitizensandpublicofficialsinvolvedintheemergencyresponseandrecoveryactivitiesfollowing the Western Pennsylvania tornadodisaster.

PAGE 30

28NOTES1Theactual development ofemergencyplansatthe countyand'citylevelsissomewhatproblematic.Inarecentinquiryintothestatusofemergencyplanningin16majorU.S.cities,fourofthesixteen--Pittsburgh,Boston, ClevelandandNewark--did not haveemergencyplansofficiallyinplace.Fourothers,Atlanta,Minneapolis,MiamiandSt.Louis, were invariousstagesof reviewanddevelopment oftheirplansandwerenot prepared toparticipateinthe survey.Thelatterfourcitiesdid, however, submit theemergencyplans forthecountiesin which they werelocated.A lthoughthisinquirywasnot comprehensive,itdoes indicatethat8 of the16citiesinthisselectivesurvey did not havefullydevelopedandcurrentemergencyplans ready for operation.Thestatusofplanninginsmallercitiesandruralcommunitiesisevenlessdeveloped,as evidencedbytheresponsesof139localofficialstoasurveyfollowing theMay31,1985tornadodisasterinWesternPennsylvania.See"TheRole of Information inEmergencyManagement,"Research Report,PolicySeminar296A,Graduate SchoolofPublicandInternationalAffairs,Universityof Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh,PA,July 23, 1985. 2pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 2, 1985. 3pittsburgh Post Gazette, June 4, 1985. 4 Cit izen Interview, Hermitage,PA,June15, 1985. 5FederalOfficialsSurvey, DisasterFieldOffice, Meadville,PA,June14-30,1985.6 This researcher observed 2jointFederal-Statestaffmeetings, with the consent of the Disaster Coordinating Officer,atthe DisasterFieldOfficeinMeadville,PAonSaturday, June 8,1985and June 14, 1985. 7LocalOfficialsSurvey,WesternPennsylvaniacountiesofBeaver, Butler, Crawford,Erie,Forest,MercerandVenango,June15July 20, 1985. 8FederalOfficialsSurvey, DisasterFieldOffice, Meadville,PA,June14-30,1985.

PAGE 31

29BIBLIOGRAPHYArgyris, Chris.Reason,LearningandAction.SanFrancisco: Josey Bass, Inc., 1982.Cheng,JosephL.C.andWilliamMcKinley."TowardanIntegration of OrganizationResearchandPractice: A ContingencyStudyof Bureaucratic ControlandPerformance inScientificSettings,"Vol.28,No.1,March,1983, 85-100.Cohen,MichaelD."ConflictandComplexity:GoalDiversityandOrganizationalEffectiveness,"AmericanPoliticalScience Review, Vol. 78,No.2(June 1984), 435-451. Cohen, MichaelD.,JamesG.MarchandJohanP.Olsen."AGarbageCanModelof Organizational Choice," in Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol.17,No.1(March1972), 1-25. Cohen, MichaelD."ThePowerofParallelThinking,"JournalofEconomic BehaviorandOrganization, 2 (1981),NorthHolland, 285-306.--'comfort, LouiseK."Action Research: AModelforOrganizationalLearning," Journal of Policy AnalysisandManagement(October 1985), forthcoming. Comfort, LouiseK."FittingSystematicResearch MethodstoActualSocialConditions:TheQuasi-Experimental ApproachtoSocialResearch," Paper pre sentedattheAnnua1Meeting0ftheAmerican PoliticalScience Association, Chicago,Illinois,September 1-4,1983.Drabek,ThomasE.,HarrietL.Tamminga,ThomasS.Kilijanek,ChristopherR.Adams.ManagingMultiorganizationalEmergency Responses. Boulder,CO:Instituteof Behavioral Sciences,1981. Giuffrida,LouisO.Emerfenc y Management: TheNationalPerspective.Emmitsburg,MD:NationaEmergencyTraining Center,MonographSeries, Vol.I,1983.Klauss,RudiandBernardM.Bass.InterpersonalCommunication Organizations.NewYork:Academicpress,1982.McLough1in,Dav id."AFrameworkforIntegratedEmergencyManagement,"Pub1 icAdministrationReview, Vol. 45,SpecialIssue:EmergencyManagement: A Challenge for Public Administration, January1985.Nelson, RichardR.andDouglas Yates, eds.InnovationandImplementation in Public Organizations. Lexington,MA:LexingtonBooks,Inc.,1978.Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, June 1July 23,1985.Rubin, CommunityRecovery.From .! MajorDisaster.Boulder,CO:Inst,tuteof Behavioral Sciences,1985.

PAGE 32

30Schoonhoven, Claudia Bird. "ProblemsinContingency Theory: Testing AssumptionsHiddenWithin theLanguageof Contingency Theory,"AdministrativeScience Quarterly,Vol.26,"No. 3 (September 1981), 349-377.Simon,HerbertA.Modelsof Discovery. Boston:D.Riedel Publishing Co.,1977.Simon,HerbertA.The Sciences..Q.f. theArtificia1.Cambridge:TheMITPress,1969,1981. ninnies, Ferdinand. andSociety(GemeinschaftundGesellschaft),originallypublishedinGerany1n1887;translatedandeditedbyCharlesP.Loomis.East Lansing,MI:MichiganStateUniversity Press, 1957.