Use Team Building to Make the Most of Your Public-Private Partnerships

Use Team Building to Make the Most of Your Public-Private Partnerships

Martin Negron (Independent Researcher, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8159-0.ch007


Disaster response is a team effort that begins long before any disaster happens. Teams and work group dynamics have been studied by organizational theorists for decades. It is important to recognize and understand the differences and similarities between teams and work groups in order to most effectively use all teams and all team members in all phases of emergency management, particularly in disaster response. This chapter explores how this differentiation, the distinctive features of work groups and teams, can be used in different places and different phases of response to enhance the efficacy of emergency management. And, because public-private partnerships have played and will play an increasingly vital role within emergency management, this chapter discusses how to use the foundation provided by organizational theorists to make the most of public-private partnerships. This chapter discusses how to exploit differences, draw them out, and use them to enhance the response to incidents.
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Incident Command Work Groups

The response to incidents can be extremely challenging and dangerous. It is not the time for individuals to act without caution. Often the environment after an incident is dirty and lacks even the most basic of necessities, e.g. shelter, power, potable water. Immediately following an incident, responders may be engaged in search and rescue efforts, trying to minimize the loss of life. This phase of response may seem like a frenzy of chaotic activity. To quickly and successfully help victims requires that those individuals responding work together effectively and efficiently. This, in and of itself, necessitates the formation of a work group that respects the authority of an incident commander and his/her chain of command. It means that the individuals assigned positions within the chain of command are willing to subvert their personal values and beliefs to those of the group and focus totally on the task at hand. Once the first phase of a response, e.g. search and rescue, has been completed a response may move into a more stable longer phase that seeks to provide basic necessities to victims and complete damage assessment. Although this phase is more stable it still requires that the tactical decisions of an incident commander are carried out quickly, carefully and usually without question. This allows incident command to develop a common operating picture for use in determining the best direction for the response to take and communicates resource needs to those entities that will provide them.

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