Securing Operational Capability for Exceptional Circumstances: How Do Professional First Responders Respond to the Unexpected?
Heino, Ossi; Kalalahti, Joanna (2021)
Julkaisun pysyvä osoite on
Complexity and uncertainty are framing the modern world, whilst also affecting issues on security and sustainability. There is a need to prepare for known threats and identified risks, but also to improve the ability to cope in situations that are difficult to recognize or describe beforehand. What is at stake—both at the organizational and individual level—is the ability to make sense of uncertain and ambiguous situations. Analyzing two empirical cases, this study aims to shed light on the abilities of experts, who have acted in very challenging situations, in which deviating from established procedures and abandoning politeness have been necessary to respond effectively. The first case deals with a threat of serious violence faced by a police officer. The second case focuses on the actions of an executive fire officer during a rescue operation after an explosion at a shopping mall. This paper concludes by arguing that pre-established procedures require experts to reflect on their usability in exceptional situations as relying on them could also have detrimental effects.