EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT—A WICKED SOLUTION?
Giardina, Michael A.
Woodbury, Glen L.
Halladay, Carolyn C.
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Emergency management agencies nationally are increasingly involved in the management of wicked problems in their communities. This thesis explores how the government can use emergency management agencies in response to wicked problems. To answer this question, this thesis takes a multi-step approach that compares the collaborative approach to wicked problem–solving and the ways in which emergency management fosters collaboration for disaster response. The comparison shows that emergency management’s tools can support collaborative responses to wicked problems, but capacity problems in the field of emergency management hinder involvement. This thesis’s conclusion recognizes that concerns about emergency management’s existing workload, underfunded and limited budgets, and the potential negative impacts of a new mission balanced with existing missions are valid. Ultimately, this thesis recognizes four possible outcomes for decision-makers. If emergency management is assigned the wicked problem space without additional resources, both mission areas will falter. If properly resourced, emergency management can adequately address wicked problems and their current workload. The third outcome leaves emergency management outside of the wicked problem mission, while the fourth outcome is to take what works from emergency management and apply it across the government. Ultimately, each outcome alters emergency management’s ability to respond to major disasters.
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