An examination of Scotland’s strategic coordinating groups to determine whether they are capable of delivering resilience and enhanced crisis management capabilities.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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This thesis examines whether the introduction of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004 and the establishment of Strategic Coordinating Groups (SCGs) within an integrated emergency management framework provides Scotland with an effective crisis response structure and resilience. A key aspect of resilience is the ability of the SCGs to learn from previous experiences. This research will consider the organisational learning of the SCGs to determine whether it is as effective as it could be. It first focuses on the organisational structure of the SCG and analyses it in terms of network management to determine its crisis management effectiveness. It then considers whether the SCGs are suitably adaptive to crises and learn from the experience of managing them and thereby enhance their preventative capability, as envisaged by the resilience policy. The principal argument is that the current structure does not ensure effective organisational learning and therefore Scotland’s resilience is diminished.
A qualitative approach is used. Data is gathered through interviews and non-participant observations, and interpreted by a combination of inductive and deductive approaches. The use of triangulation of data enhances its validity. Systems theory provides analytical frameworks to examine the SCG structure and processes, and to determine whether SCGs successfully achieve the desired outcome of resilience and effective crisis management.
Using the systems approach identifies that real world SCGs have a number of variances from the ideal state. The current SCG structure is complex which makes communication and coordination challenging, which undermines the SCG crisis response. The absence of a dynamic monitoring mechanism within the SCG makes it difficult to learn lessons from previous crises and adapt to environmental changes. The thesis concludes by making a number of recommendations for improving SCG crisis management effectiveness and resilience.
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