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Organizing after Crisis

The Challenge of Learning

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Edited By Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone

How do actors organize after crisis? Do they «simply» return to normal? The post-crisis phase is anything but a linear process. Actors and their practices may be transformed by learning from crises and by implementing the lessons.
In this volume, 19 contributors from 7 countries analyse how learning happens after crisis in a dynamic political environment where framings, strategies, discourses, interests and resources interact. Exploring various policy sectors, they ask whether and in what ways organizations in charge of crisis management perform well. Where political responsibility is located? What changes do lessons trigger at political, organizational and individual levels? The book answers these questions by addressing issues like blame and responsibility but also the influence of communication, social dynamics and the institutional environment.

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Chapter 1. Public organizations at stake. Introducing the challenges of learning after crisis (Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone)

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17 Chapter 1 Public organizations at stake Introducing the challenges of learning after crisis Nathalie Schiffino, Laurent Taskin, Céline Donis and Julien Raone Université catholique de Louvain, Belgium “We knew that we would not be replaced. No one was forced to stay, but those of us who remained knew that we would be there until the end. We knew that we were the only people capable of saving the plant. Our determination surpassed all other considerations.” (Fukushima, Japan – Yoshizawa, A., 2011) “Nous nous sommes surpassés pour venir en aide aux sinistrés. Cette appréciation positive sur notre travail et votre travail a été soulignée […] Vous pouvez prendre la mesure de la qualité et de l’ampleur du travail accompli.” (Floods of Lourdes, France – Roussel-Devaux F., 2014). What is this book about? Surpassing is what this book is about. Depending on the context, “surpassing” refers to different significations. It is related to to an activity of control, a specific performance in relation to others, or the action transcending oneself. The idea is often linked with extreme or unusual events when one is confronted to the imperative to surpass an uncertain situation, to surpass competitors in difficult times, or even to surpass oneself by going beyond one’s own limits. We all intuitively have a sense of what such an experience might consist of, both at individual and collective levels. In our daily lives, we are permanently asked to take control, to perform, and to go beyond what we used...

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