Information sharing in interteam responses to disaster.

Sara Waring, Laurence Alison, Grace Carter, Chloe Barrett-Pink, Michael Humann, Lauren Swan, Tomas Zilinsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Research demonstrates that information sharing is facilitated by familiarity, and having acommon understanding of problems, use of lexicon, and semantic meaning. These factorscan be difficult to develop within extreme environments such as disasters as members ofthe multi-agency system that responds often have limited experience of workingtogether. Public inquiries repeatedly highlight the impact of information sharing difficultieson public safety, but limited academic research has focused on identifying concretebehaviours that facilitate interteam information sharing within such environments. Thispaper presents a case study of a national disaster response exercise involving 1,000emergency responders. Data consist of structured observations, recordings of interteammeetings, and interviews with emergency responders. Results of mixed-method analysisindicate that interteam information sharing is delayed by limited situation awareness andpoor articulation. Conversely, adopting behaviours that promote common frames forunderstanding interteam capabilities and information requirements improves informationsharing and potentially reduces cognitive effort required to process information. Findingscontribute to interteam communication theory by highlighting that in complex, time-constrained environments, having a shared understanding of responsibilities andinformation requirement is important for minimizing redundant deliberation andimproving relevance and speed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-619
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date1 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution andreproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


  • multiteam system
  • information sharing
  • knowledge boundaries
  • representational gaps
  • emergency response


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