The heterogeneous nature of public institutions in disaster management


Public institutions are, often, composed of several “tribes” that must work together. They are led by political appointees with temporary mandates, who owe allegiance to their respective political parties. However, their basic personnel is generally made up of different types of professionals (Frederiksson and Pallas, 3). For example, universities are generally made up of academics and administrators, which are served by clerical staff; while disaster response institutions are composed of e.g. firefighters, doctors, paramedics, drivers, weapons experts, lawyers. Moreover, disaster response institutions’ employees have permanent employment contracts and a different career track. Thus, the natural gaining of experience allows them to develop “possibilities to influence how the work is organized, resources are allocated and how decisions are made” (Frederiksson and Pallas, 3). Finally, each of these professions holds specific beliefs about what type of behaviour is to be rewarded or punished, thus forming a specific professional ethos. As a result, communication sometimes employs the specific jargon of the professions, leading to failure to reach the wider audience.

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