Collaborative crisis governance and management

Keywords: Collaboration, Governance, Organization studies

The increasing frequency of social, political and economic crises during the past decades has resulted in new approaches towards collective action. This is partly a response to the fact that many contemporary social problems are “wicked” in the sense that they are difficult to define, they are multi-causal and without a clear solution but with the possibility of externalities, involving a multitude of actors (Peters, 2015). This is particularly true in disaster management, where collaborative efforts are forged at all administrative levels and phases of the disaster cycles involving a multitude of actors.

Dealing with wicked problems requires increased levels of coordination, which according to Peters is a fundamental policy problem in itself (2015). When it comes to coordination, network arrangements are an advantage, but the challenge for the practitioners is to operate and cultivate the networked linkages without prioritizing them at the cost of their home organization (Peters, 1998). Increasingly, informal interorganizational arrangements have been giving way to formalized networked structures tasked with producing a collaborative delivery of services.

Despite the lack of consensus in the literature, collaboration indicates a more involved level of collective action than cooperation or coordination, and can be defined as

… a process in which autonomous actors interact through formal and informal negotiation, jointly creating rules and structures governing their relationships and ways to act or decide on the issues that brought them together; it is process involving shared norms and mutually beneficial interactions. (Thompson, 2001 quoted in Thompson and Perry, 2006, p. 23).

Here we are especially interested in identifying and exploring articulations of collaborative expressions, new norms and behaviours in the intersection between state and civil society that may contribute to notions of collaborative governance and management in routine emergency management as well as disaster management. We encourage contributions exploring the ways in which actors have interpreted the dominant discourses and policies, responded to them by forging practices of collaboration or refusing collaboration. We welcome pieces addressing theoretical puzzles of collaborative management such as networks and relational aspects, organizational trajectories or volunteer work among others. We also seek papers tackling methodological aspects of collaborative management.


Peters, B. G. (2015). Advanced Introduction to Public Policy. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

Thomson, A. M., & Perry, J. L. (2006). Collaboration Processes: Inside the Black Box. Public Administration Review, 66, 20-32. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2006.00663.x

Evangelia Petridou  is an adjunct assistant professor of Political Science at the Risk and Crisis Research Center and Mid-Sweden University in Sweden. She is a public policy and public administration scholar with her research interests focusing on policy and institutional entrepreneurship, routine emergency management, collaborative management, networked governance, and social network analysis. Evie’s recent work has appeared in the Policy Studies Journal (2014) and the Journal of Central European Public Policy (2017) and she was co-editor of Entrepreneurship in the Polis: Understanding Political Entrepreneurship (Ashgate, 2015).

 Jörgen Sparf is an assistant professor of Sociology at the Risk and Crisis Research Center and Mid-Sweden University in Sweden. His main research interests center on resilience, collaboration and multi-organizational alliances in crisis management, and individual capacity and vulnerability issues. He is the Swedish representative in the UNISDR working group Social Protection. Jörgen’s work has been published in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management (2016), Journal of Risk Analysis and Crisis Response (2014) among others, and he is the author of several book chapters.

Both panel chairs work at the Risk and Crisis Research Centre, Mid Sweden University (