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Organizing after Crisis

The Challenge of Learning


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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Acknowledgments and presentation


First of all, we would like to thank the Belgian French-speaking community that funded the “Actions de recherche concertées” (ARC) research project entitled “Organizational regulation of societal risks.” With the invaluable support of the Université catholique de Louvain, the 5-year research grant made this publication possible.

Our acknowledgements also go to professors Steve Jacob and Jean-Louis Genard, the directors of the Series Public Action, and to the academic publisher, who trusted in our project from the very beginning.

Within Université catholique de Louvain, the administrative staff has efficiently and kindly assisted us in preparing the manuscript and its associate scientific seminar. The role played by Vinciane Claus was major and we are grateful to her.

Seizing the opportunity of the acknowledgments, we also would like to explain what triggered the initiative of this book. From 2010 to 2015, we analyzed public agencies facing situations characterized by societal risk. From field work about food safety, nuclear control and railway security, we derived organizational patterns that are developed both at meso (organizations) and micro (individuals) levels to handle societal risks within contemporary (macro) political system. We took especially into account knowledge transfer as potential supporting mechanism for learning from crises.

First, our ARC research investigated internal regulation produced by organizations when they face societal risk. Especially when the missions of public agencies consist in regulating societal risk (such as pandemics, radioactive emissions, injuries or death by transportation), risk prevention and risk...

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