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COVID-19: Exposing the need for emergency management to invest in systems thinking

Ralph Renger, PhD, MEP

Abstract


The COVID-19 pandemic exposed numerous challenges in the emergency management (EM) response system. The article contends that had EM deliberately and systematically engaged in systems thinking; it would have been better able to anticipate and respond to many of the challenges. Reasons for EM not fully embracing systems thinking are discussed, including the perception that it is complex and theoretical. This article attempts to dispel these beliefs by first demonstrating how many systems-thinking concepts are already embedded in the EM ethos and then by illustrating the application of system principles in the context of the COVID-19 response. This article concludes by recommending EM invest in training to encourage the systematic application of system principles in emergency preparedness and response.


Keywords


COVID-19, systems thinking, EM systems

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5055/jem.0607

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