Socio-technical Approaches to Complex Phenomena: An Analysis of the Turkish Disaster Management System under Stress

by Celik, Suleyman

Abstract (Summary)
This research analyzes and assesses the major issues regarding coordinated response operations in destructive earthquakes. The research examines the decision making process in the context of seismic risk to exemplify how public managers can utilize the information and communication systems in order to create collaborative actions in managing an extreme event. Based on the theoretical framework from Complex Adaptive Systems and Socio-technical Systems, this study is an exploratory case study that explores the factors that hinder or facilitate coordinated response operations. This research applies the theoretical framework to the two earthquake response systems, the Marmara and Duzce that occurred in Turkey in August and November of 1999, respectively. This study investigated initial conditions of existing information infrastructure during the 1999 Marmara and Duzce response operations and compared the two response systems to discover whether the utilization of information and communication technologies significantly affected the performance of the Turkish disaster system. The findings of the study revealed that improving communication functions increased coordination activities thus eventually improved search and rescue operations from the Marmara to the Duzce earthquake. This research conducts qualitative, quantitative and network analysis using data from content analysis of a national newspapers, Cumhuriyet, semi-structured interviews, archival records, professional reports, and official websites of disaster organizations. By using the data, the research also focuses on the period of review and redesign of emergency management policies and practices following the Marmara and Duzce earthquakes. It analyzes the changes introduced into the information infrastructure and organizational structure to evaluate to what extent the Turkish disaster management system possesses the characteristics of a socio-technical disaster system. Although the findings of the analyses showed that the initiations after the Marmara and Duzce earthquake, to some extent, improved the technical and organizational capacity of the Turkish disaster management system, the system still needs to be improved particularly at the local level to cope with a future destructive earthquake.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Louise K. Comfort; Siddharth Chandra; Toni Carbo; Kevin Kearns

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:public and international affairs


Date of Publication:08/18/2006

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