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Proposed tools for monitoring teams in emergency management: Interim report on emergency management breakdown aide memoire and team behaviour markers
reportposted on 01.05.2018, 00:00 authored by Christopher BearmanChristopher Bearman, Sophia RainbirdSophia Rainbird, B Brooks, C Owen
As part of their role in managing emergencies regional and state level emergency managers (SEMs) monitor the activities of operational teams below them in the agency to ensure that those teams are functioning safely and effectively. Teams operating in complex dynamic environments are likely to experience disruptions to their teamwork (particularly in the early phases of an emergency). If these disruptions are not managed effectively they will cause the team to move out of conceptualised safe spaces of operation, firstly into the “zone of coping ugly” then into an area where incidents and accidents become more likely to occur. The question then is how SEMs can best manage teams to ensure that they are functioning effectively. There are a number of methods for examining the performance of teams that have been presented in the literature on teamwork. However, none of these have been used in an emergency management context. Two of these methods have been selected as initially warranting further consideration and will be modified and trialled in the initial phases of the evaluation stage of the project. These methods are: The Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoire (EMBAM) and a Teamwork Behavioural Markers tool based on the work of Wilson et al. (2007). The Emergency Management Breakdown Aide Memoir (EMBAM) is a guide to assist the identification of teamwork breakdowns across the various organisational levels by listing indicators of breakdowns. This includes categories, such as: missing information, conflicting expectations, inconsistent information, intuition, familiarity, and networks. The Team Behavioural Markers tool is based on a set of behavioural markers of teamwork developed by Wilson et al. (2007). It is designed so a person can scan the list and think about the items to ensure that aspects of good team performance are being followed and if not, to be able to identify what is going wrong. In the next stages of the project the research team and a small group of end-users (selected from a wider set of end-users involved with the project) will iteratively develop and test the two team monitoring tools that have initially been identified as warranting further consideration. In this way, enhanced methods for monitoring teams can be developed that can be used for the early detection of problems that if unresolved, can lead to impaired operational performance.