A call for sensemaking support systems in crisis management

W.J. Muhren, B.A. van de Walle

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    In this chapter, we explore four information processing challenges commonly experienced in crisis situations, which form the basis of the design of information systems that should support actors in these situations. When we explore the difference between Sensemaking and decision making, two activities that are undertaken to cope with information processing challenges, we can understand the two types of information systems support that are needed. The first type—decision support systems—supports actors in dealing with information-related problems of uncertainty and complexity, and is the traditional focus of information systems design. The second type—sensemaking support systems—should support actors in dealing with problems of frames of reference, ambiguity, and equivocality, but is not commonplace yet. We conducted three case studies in different crisis situations to explore these information processing challenges: A case study of the sudden crisis of an airplane crash in the Barents Rescue Exercise, a case study of the yearly recurring forest fires crises in Portugal, and a case study of the post-conflict European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We discuss design premises for crisis management information systems and compare these to our findings, and observe that systems designed accordingly will provide for the necessary Sensemaking support.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInteractive Collaborative Information Systems
    EditorsA. Babuska, F.C.A. Groen
    PublisherUnknown Publisher
    Number of pages595
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

    Publication series

    NameStudies in Computational Intelligence Series


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