Heat wave planning in London


Learning in organisational heat wave planning in London unfolded as the incremental change in established risk management approaches. Learning consolidated existing heat wave plans at the local level, reinforced the status-quo and can thus be associated with rigidity, rather than with change. Social learning was constrained by the interaction of formal and informal institutions (by low risk perception, organisational cultures of fire-fighting, and a reliance on events as catalysts for change; this role of events suggests an element of uncertainty and randomness in transformation, and highlights limited agency in deep social learning processes in disaster risk management). Shadow institutions such as trust relationships and networks supported formal risk planning arrangements to function. In the short-run, this added flexibility to disaster risk planning because it provided opportunities to deliver risk management even if formal strategies were dysfunctional or failed. However, support from trust relationships and informal networks seemed to consolidate existing heat wave planning strategies in the long-run and thus stabilised, rather than challenged them. Informal institutions of the shadow system thus were not used to innovate local risk planning, explore alternatives to existing strategies and to propose paradigm shifts in heat wave risk management.

Note: See source document for full reference.

Applicable to: