What influences the acceptance of emergency management decision-support software? A study of county emergency management officials


  • Eliot A. Jennings, PhD
  • Sudha Arlikatti, PhD




technology in emergency management, WebEOC, E-team, GIS in emergency management, decision-support systems in emergency management, technology acceptance


Objective: While the benefits of emergency management decision-support software (EMDSS) have been touted for helping reduce time in decision making, increasing interoperability, and real-time data management for effective disaster response, little is understood regarding the factors that influence the acceptance of these technologies by emergency management officials. This study aims to fill this gap and contribute to theory on user acceptance of EMDSS in the public sector and highlight practical constraints and solutions for emergency managers.

Design: This research uses secondary data available from the 2006 survey of county emergency management agencies conducted by the National Center for the Study of Counties.

Results: Having a lead county emergency management official with higher qualifications and an in-house geographic information system division, both have a positive influence on the acceptance of EMDSS by that agency.

Conclusions: Contrary to expectations, the level of local collaborative planning efforts, the perceived level of threat, and number of disaster declarations for the county did not influence the use of these sophisticated EMDSS. To ensure use of such technology for effective emergency management, more funding to offer specialized training in the use of DSS is required in those agencies that do not have in-house GIS specialists.

Author Biographies

Eliot A. Jennings, PhD

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado

Sudha Arlikatti, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Administration and Undergraduate Program Coordinator, University of North Texas, Denton, Texas


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How to Cite

Jennings, PhD, E. A., and S. Arlikatti, PhD. “What Influences the Acceptance of Emergency Management Decision-Support Software? A Study of County Emergency Management Officials”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 13, no. 6, Feb. 2016, pp. 539-51, doi:10.5055/jem.2015.0263.