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Time to rethink Norwegian maritime collaboration exercises

Journal article
Authors E. Kristiansen
J. Løwe Sørensen
Eric Carlström
L. Inge Magnussen
Published in International Journal of Emergency Services
Volume 6
Issue 1
Pages 14-28
ISSN 2047-0894
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 14-28
Language en
Keywords Collaboration, Communication, Exercise, Maritime, Norway
Subject categories Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


Purpose: This case study maps the perceived collaboration between public, private and volunteer organizations during maritime crisis work, with a substantive focus on communication, information flow and distribution of activities. The exercise studied was held in the far north in Norway. It was estimated to be Europe’s most extensive exercise in 2016. The paper aims to discuss these issues. Design/methodology/approach: The data were collected through observations, semi-structured interviews and reviews of associated frameworks and evaluation reports. Data were collected simultaneously at five different sites. Findings: The key findings showed an intra-organizational focus, a predominance of drills and different informal exercises instead of a cohesive exercise. This made evaluation difficult. Reasons for the fragmentation of the exercise appear to be the size of the exercise and the script. Research limitations/implications: Generalization of findings is problematic as this study involved only one exercise. However, this study has national significance, as it involved 22 public, private and volunteer stakeholder organizations, including civil emergency response units, the military, the Norwegian Civil Defence, and major maritime volunteer organizations such as the Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue. Collaboration between actors suffered from the size of the exercise. A smaller exercise, less dependency on predetermined scripts, and more receptivity toward improvisation could improve collaboration. Originality/value: The study shows how collaboration fails as an effect of strict agendas and scripts to accomplish an impressive but complex and oversized exercise. © 2017, © Emerald Publishing Limited.

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