Understanding Swift Trust to Improve Interagency Collaboration in New York City
Fahy, Michael J.
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For over a decade, homeland security leaders have urged emergency response agencies to improve their collaborative capacity. Collaboration and coordination is critical to homeland security effectiveness. The homeland security threat scenarios facing NYC, including terrorist attacks, natural disasters, and high consequence accidents, require a synergistic response from first arriving responders. To understand the foundation of collaborative relationships among the FDNY and NYPD, this thesis examines the concept of swift trust. Swift trust is a unique form of trust that occurs between groups or individuals brought together in temporary teams to accomplish specific tasks, often under time constraints. This thesis examines swift trust formation in military, business, and virtual collaborative studies. It applies the factors critical to swift trust formation in those areas to interagency incidents involving the NYPD and FDNY. Among the factors affecting the formation of swift trust between NYC first responders are initial interactions and communications, identification of roles and assigned tasks, formulation of a team identity, and organizational culture. The conclusions drawn from this research reveal organizational and procedural barriers preventing the formation of swift trust at interagency incidents. Additionally, current training is largely ineffective at developing swift trust.
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