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Trust among decision makers and its consequences in emergency response operations

Christian Uhr, MSc, Olof Ekman, MSc


In an emergency response operation, trust can have an influence on the efficiency in communication between different decision makers and how the networks of these decision makers are formed. Consequently, it might affect the efficiency, flexibility, and adaptation capability in the response system as a whole. Trust could generally be described as a relation between a trustor and a trustee where the expected behavior and competence of the trustee in a specific context, estimated by the trustor, is a central core in the concept. On the basis of a literature review and interviews with Australian emergency response practitioners, this article discusses relevant characteristics of trust and its consequences in emergency response. The content emphasizes the need for further development of descriptive analysis of the processes underlying the formal charts and documents to understand authentic conditions and further develop valid normative theories for emergency response management.


trust, emergency response, crisis response, defining trust, consequences of trust

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