Improving situation awareness in crisis response teams: An experimental analysis of enriched information and centralized coordination

Bartel Van de Walle*, Bert Brugghemans, Tina Comes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
258 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

In responding to an emergency, the actions of emergency response teams critically depend upon the situation awareness the team members have acquired. Situation awareness, and the design of systems to support it, has been a focus in recent emergency management research. In this paper, we introduce two interventions to the core processes of information processing and information sharing in emergency response teams to analyze their effect on the teams’ situation awareness: (1) we enrich raw incoming information by adding a summary of the information received, and (2) we channel all incoming information to a central coordinator who then decides upon further distribution within the team. The effect of both interventions is investigated through a controlled experiment with experienced professional responders. Our results show distinctly different effects for information enrichment and centralization, both for the teams and for the coordinators within the team. While the interaction effects of both conditions cannot be discerned, it is apparent that processing non-enriched information and non-centralized information sharing leads to a worse overall team situation awareness. Our work suggests several implications for the design of emergency response management information systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-79
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Studies
Volume95
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Keywords

  • Coordination
  • Crisis response
  • Fast-burning crisis
  • Information sharing
  • Situation awareness

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