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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 7: Learning and organizational vulnerability. A critical analysis of control and punishment in a Québec health center

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CHAPTER 7

Learning and organizational vulnerability

A critical analysis of control and punishment in a Québec health center

Carole LALONDE and Christophe ROUX-DUFORT

Université Laval, Canada

Introduction

Sometimes inefficient management of crises may lead to remedies that prove to be as problematic as the ills for which a solution is sought. Usually, this discrepancy arises from a limited analysis of the crisis, the objective of which is to preserve institutional legitimacy, regardless the roots of the failure. But the roots of a crisis may be found in profound organizational mechanisms generally permitting organizations to function normally on a daily basis without questioning the nature of the relationships between the actors of the drama (Brissett and Edgley, 2009). A more substantive investigation of the roots of the difficulties sometimes endangers the very legitimacy that the organization seeks to preserve which is, in the present case, to protect and take care of frail people. Using the metaphor of the Panopticon (being exposed without knowing) initially proposed by Bentham and taken up by Foucault (1975, 1977)1, the revelation of a backstage drama can lead to questioning of the gaze posed by civil society on the morality of its institutions.

Thus, the crisis may be used as a diagnostic tool (Lalonde, 2012) in as much as it acts as a catalyst and reveals an array of vulnerabilities that the organization’s normal functioning not only...

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