Creativity in Emergency Response After The World Trade Center Attack

Kendra, James M.
Wachtendorf, Tricia
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Disaster Research Center
This paper discusses the role of creativity in mounting an emergency response, using the World Trade Center attack as an exploraiory case study. The paper observes that the exercise of creativity by emergency managers is the source of positive adaptive responses to unexpected or rapidy-changing situations. The paper notes however that creativity, because of its different manifestations, can introduce a random, unpredictable element into the response milieu, varying with the magnitude of the event, and can lead to tensions within an organization that vary with the timeframe over which decisions must be made. Volunteers and others who converge to a disaster site also exhibit creativity in the pursuit of their objectives, which can present both benefits and challenges to emergency managers. Nevertheless, creativity will remain an important component in initiating and sustaining emergent methods and organizational networks that researchers recognize as important- in emergency response. The paper suggests that plans and exercises should include a dimension that considers creativity.
emergency response , World Trade Center , creativity