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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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Chapter 4: Crisis management lessons from modeling


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Crisis management lessons from modeling

Thomas MESZAROS and Clément MORIER

University Lyon 3, France

“It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.”1 Claude Bernard

Stock market crashes, air disasters, trains derailing, cruise ships and tankers sinking, terrorist attacks, communication network sabotage, floods, pandemics, pollution, tsunamis and nuclear accidents are all situations considered, sometimes a little too quickly, to be “crises”, whether economic, financial, environmental, humanitarian, political, security or military. The multiple meanings of this word do not give us much information about its substance2. Its overuse does, however, show that we are living in a new (reflexive) modernity in which risk is constantly present (Beck, 2001). This new factor can be explained by the transformation in our lifestyle, and means of communication and production which have turned our societies into “risk producers” (Beck, 2001, p. 11). As our global environment becomes more and more complex, our societies are confronted with growing uncertainty and are becoming increasingly vulnerable (Boin and ‘t Hart, 2008). Handling these critical emergency situations is now a priority for both public and private decision-makers, who, faced with worldwide media coverage of events, are often left feeling helpless, because they do not have the tools they need to manage them. How can this need be met? How can we learn from previous crises, train decision-makers and predict the adaptive capability of organizations placed in...

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