Published works

Published works

Challenges of Measuring Emergency Management Performance Under Adversity: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Conference Paper 2014

TitleChallenges of Measuring Emergency Management Performance Under Adversity: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Conference Paper 2014
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsOwen, C, Brooks, B, Bearman, C
Conference NameBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014
Date Published02/2015
Abstract

Senior emergency management personnel face more extreme events and more complex challenges than their predecessors and these challenges will increase in the future. One of the key challenges that senior emergency managers face is the evaluation of operational performance in the context of increasing scrutiny from media, legal and political spheres. To investigate this issue we collected survey data from 38 senior emergency management leaders who operate at the strategic level (above the local IMT) as part of a broader survey examining the challenges of strategic emergency management (funded by the Bushfire CRC, Owen et al., 2013). Participants reported concerns that operational performance is currently judged by external sources (such as the media) in an often post- hoc and arbitrary manner and is dependent on whether or not what happened in the end was perceived as a good outcome. Reliance on the outcome of a complex event is problematic because there is not an absolute correlation between the process of managing an emergency and the outcome. Bad outcomes can occur despite good operational processes and good outcomes can occur despite bad operational processes. For example, all the best processes might have been in place and performed well but the outcome was bad because of unexpected climatic conditions, such as a wind change. This paper will outline the views of senior leaders in emergency management about what needs to be taken into account when measuring operational performance.

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