Resilience to cope with the unexpected


It is very difficult to get any insight into the real problems that occur when an actual emergency or disaster takes place.  Too often, beforehand there was not sufficient interaction and planning that jointly involves all the many infrastructures and organizations and problems that arise because of unexpected and unpredicted conflicts for resources and collaboration.  Afterwards, it is very difficult for many organizations involved to admit that they had problems they could not resolve as well as they had hoped to.  As a result, understanding the prior shortcomings for developing more comprehensive plans to improve future emergency situations, needs to occur more often.  Given the added observation that climate change is significantly increasing the strength of many types of natural disaster (e.g. hurricanes, flooding, tsunamis, tornados, storm surges, wildfires, etc.) we need to widen greatly the interactions among all the infrastructures, local industry, community organizations, and the public as a whole.  We have to encourage the open exposure of any problems that interfere with the best possible responses and plans to alleviate the expected local natural disasters.

A paper in this track may include anything that occurred in any phase of Emergency Management (planning, response, or recovery) that was unexpected and had to be dealt with.  Normally, the location and general time of the event should be identified in the paper.  If that is not possible, the first author of the paper must have a current or prior background to have been involved in or aware of such an occurrence.  This information should be in a short bio of the first author at the end of the paper without the name of the author.  It is hoped that we will see useful examples of the need for creativity in dealing with emergencies, surprises, and unknowns.  This may also include the difficulties that occur because of the lack of collaboration across many different organizations in dealing with emergency situations.  It may also include examples for which there is still no obvious single solution.


  • Case study accounts by practitioners who are willing to describe actual experiences they have had that clearly did not allow the best possible outcome to occur.
  • State of the art reviews that are based upon current literature and investigations of the problems that resulted from a disaster or events and decisions that may cause later responses and outcomes to be less than ideal.
  • Insightful experiences that the author or authors experienced; or, the absence of plans, preparedness, or considerations to fully handle a likely disaster occurrence in a given location.
  • An academic case study of an actual occurrence of the unexpected by examining the unexpected situation, the human roles and actions they took, and the results.
  • Organizational conflicts and lack of collaboration that led to less than ideal outcomes.
  • Examples of creativity, collaboration, and/or unexpected professional or organizational behavior in any phase of a disaster situation.

We will do our best to make experienced emergency management practitioners aware of this particular track and also the fact that insight papers do not have to emphasize literature references.  Feel free to circulate this write up to groups of practitioners.

TRACK KEYWORDS: Depends on the nature of the problem but should include things like:  disaster type, organizations involved, resources involved, nature of decision, nature of conflicts, missing information, etc.


Feel free to contact any of the chairs for information on whether your planned paper really fits the session or other questions.  Check the summary backgrounds for who you feel might be the best person to contact.

Murray Turoff – Coordinating Track Co-Chair
Distinguished Professor Emeritus
New Jersey Institute of Technology
[email protected]

Marcos Borges
Professor, University
Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
[email protected]

Magiswary Dorasamy
Department Chair of IT Management
Multimedia University, Malaysia
[email protected]

Murray Turoff

Murray Turoff

Murray Turoff is responsible for the design of EMISARI, the very first asynchronous collaborative system in 1971 in the Office of Emergency Preparedness in the Executive Offices of the U.S. President.  It was used by 300-400 professionals to monitor and impose the 1971 Wage Price Freeze.  From that time until around 1985 it was used as an Emergency Management Information System by the U.S. government.  Professor Turoff moved to NJIT in 1973 and began a long term research and development program with Starr Roxanne Hiltz in the development of the first Social Network system, called EIES.  It was devoted to tailoring communications to the nature of the problem or task groups were dealing with and the nature of the group.  In 1978 they published a prize winning (reprinted in 1993 by MIT press) book called “The Network Nation” that largely predicted todays Internet.  In 2004, Professor Turoff turned his attention back to Emergency Management Information Systems and published an award winning paper (i.e. best engineering communications publication in 2004) on how they should be designed, extrapolated from the early EMISARI effort.  Since that time, he continues to be very active in research and publications associated with Emergency Management and collaborative systems.

Marcos Borges

Dr Marcos Borges

Dr Marcos Borges is Full Professor in the Computer Science Department at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He earned his doctorate in Computer Science from the University of East Anglia (UK) in 1986. From 1994-1996, he was a visiting research scholar and a member of the Object Technology Lab at Santa Clara U. in California. Dr. Borges also served as Visiting Professor at the Polytechnic U. of Valencia, Spain. He has published over 200 research papers in international conferences and journals, including Decision Support SystemsComputers in Industry, and Expert Systems and Applications. His research interests include Computer Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW), Collective Knowledge and Emergency Management Systems. He is a member of the Board and Vice President of ISCRAM Association and organized the 2016 edition of ISCRAM Conference in Rio de Janeiro. He was also the PC Co-Chair for the ACM CSCW 2017 Conference.

Magiswary Dorasamy

Magiswary Dorasamy

Magiswary Dorasamy, who completed her Ph.D at the Multimedia University in 2013, is a Senior Lecturer and a Head of the Department for IT for Management in the Faculty of Management, Multimedia University, Malaysia.  Her doctoral study was focused on the role of information systems in the form of knowledge management systems in disaster management. Her recent work on disaster resilience has appeared in the Technological Forecasting and Social Change, a leading international journal with high impact factor. Her other research interests include social media for disaster preparedness using qualitative research methods.