Crowdsourcing-Enabled Crisis Collaborative Decision Making

Crowdsourcing-Enabled Crisis Collaborative Decision Making

Mohammed Benali, Abdessamed Réda Ghomari, Leila Zemmouchi-Ghomari, Mohammed Lazar
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/IJeC.2020070104
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Crisis events put crisis response organizations in a unique and complex situation that requires critical real-time distributed decision-making so that lives and properties are saved and protected. With the growing development of collaborative technologies, citizen participation to the crisis management process has shifted from the passive one-way contribution of social networking data to a more active participation by performing specific tasks related to crisis data processing. This article presents a comprehensive approach for integrating the crowdsourcing process to the collaborative decisional process in crisis situations. Within the approach three aspects are highlighted: the coordination work that exists between the relevant stakeholders in making collective decisions, the modeling of case dependent activities within the decisional process, and the detailed modeling of decision-related tasks. The authors investigate the applicability of the proposal with a real-world case study of the Desert Locust Plague carried out in the Algerian National Institute of Plant Protection.
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In time of crisis, various response teams from different organizations need to collaborate and coordinate their efforts in attempt to conduct effective response operations for saving lives and properties. Crisis management implies collaborative and coordinated decision-making activities involving diverse sources of spatiotemporal data and information, distributed and owned by different organizations, institutions and even ordinary citizens (Hughes et al., 2014). In fact, the ubiquitous use of social networks and social media channels has enabled data collection at an unprecedented scale, allowing citizens to act as human sensors, who report valuable observations on the unfolding crisis situation (Abu-Elkheir et al., 2016; Salfinger et al., 2016; Grasso et al., 2017). Moreover, recent crisis events have led respondent organizations to reconsider their policies so as to expand the range of collaborating actors, by including volunteer citizens to support their internal decision-making activities (Ginige et al., 2014). According to (Estellés-Arolas & González-Ladrón-De-Guevara, 2012), crowdsourcing is a type of participative online activity in which an individual, organization, or company proposes to an undefined and heterogenous group of individuals with varying knowledge backgrounds, via a flexible open call, the voluntary undertaking of a task. It is considered as a model capable of aggregating talent, leveraging ingenuity while reducing the costs and time formerly needed for problem solving and decision-making (Brabham, 2008).

Although different studies have already investigated the use of crowdsourcing to enhance organizational decision-making, most of them tend to focus on the development of new web-based technologies that provide decision support. Additionally, a number of studies were confined to tackling the different types of crowdsourcing integration issues and providing general guidelines on the role that it can play in the decisional process (Benali et al., 2018). However, there is still more research questions and studies of practical scenarios to be addressed by scholars and practitioners, in order to analyze and examine the engagement and the role that ordinary citizens may play in the different steps of the decision-making process in crisis situations. Against this gap, the first research question we address in this paper is:

  • What, when, and how crisis crowdsourcing techniques and tasks can be best harnessed to meet the different requirements of each phase of the crisis decision-making process?

The idea behind business process socialization (i.e., calling for the crowds’ participation) is using the web 2.0 features to enhance an enterprise productivity by promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing among team members or among teams, making the internal decision procedures more visible to the involved stakeholders, and proceeding to the participatory production of proposals that contribute to the decision-making process (Yahya et al., 2015). Yet, from a design science perspective, the modeling of decisional processes using standard modeling techniques (e.g. UML diagrams, BPMN based notations) can only describe the coordination work that exists between the respondent organizations and the involved crowds within business processes by defining specific tasks or activities where decision-making is required to take place. Therefore, the underlying logic of these decision-related tasks or sub-decisions nested in each phase of the global crisis decision-making process is diluted or not well managed by traditional business process models.

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