Coordination of Distributed Activities in Dynamic Situations. The Case of Inter-organizational Crisis Management

Jörn Franke 1
1 SCORE - Services and Cooperation
Inria Nancy - Grand Est, LORIA - NSS - Department of Networks, Systems and Services
Abstract : Recently we have seen several large scale disasters affecting humans all over the world. Examples are Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the Haiti earthquake in 2010 or the September 11/2001 terrorist attacks on the world trade center. During these disasters, several hundred organizations, such as police, fire brigade or humanitarian aid organizations, respond with the goal to save people and support them to live a normal life again. They need to coordinate to deal with scarce resources, different skills and capabilities. People in these organizations drive coordination based on their judgment of the situation. The situation can be dynamic: it evolves in sometimes unexpected ways, goals shift and priorities of the organizations change. Typical problems are to get an overview on the relations between what has been done, what is currently going on and what are the next steps. This problem is specially challenging on the inter-organizational level: Each organization coordinates the response from its own perspective and relies on the information provided by other organizations. We aim in this dissertation at supporting coordination of activities by people of different organizations in a dynamic situation by an information system. The disaster response is a critical example for this. The basic idea is to leverage a process-based approach, where activities and their relations are made explicit. We present a framework for coordination of activities in dynamic situations. It allows ad-hoc modeling of the relations between what has been done, what is currently going on and what are the next steps. A model can be verified for correctness in predictable and acceptable time. Deviations from the model and how activities have been performed are displayed to the user to highlight the impact of shifting goals. We extend this framework to the inter-organizational level. Selected activities can be shared by people with selected organizations. This means not everything is shared between everybody to take into account privacy, regulatory, strategic or other reasons. Shared activities are replicated in the workspaces of these organizations. We describe how diverging views on replicated activities and their relations can be detected and handled to ensure eventually a converging view. The concepts are implemented as an extension to an open distributed collaboration service. They are also commented by experienced disaster managers. Furthermore, we design an experiment to evaluate tool support addressing the research questions. We conducted several experiments to validate the design of the experiment. Further experiments can provide validation of the concepts implemented as a prototype in this thesis.
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Jörn Franke. Coordination of Distributed Activities in Dynamic Situations. The Case of Inter-organizational Crisis Management. Library and information sciences. Université Henri Poincaré - Nancy I, 2011. English. ⟨tel-00642820v3⟩

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