Social networks in crisis communication and as a resilience factor

We have just launched the “Resilience & Security” project website at INSCT, Syracuse University. The workshop report at the end of the first page, includes two papers of mine on a) institutional resilience and the influence of social networks and b) on the use of social media in crisis communication as a resilience factor.

The full research report is available via SSRN: Longstaff, Patricia, Mergel, Ines A. and Armstrong, Nicholas J.,Workshop Report: Resilience in Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Natural Disasters(March 9, 2009). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1357525

Here is the blurb of the project description:

The Institute’s project on Resilience is an effort to generate an interdisciplinary stream of research aimed at identifying key metrics of adaptive capacity in local communities overcome by armed conflict or major disasters.  Recent challenges in Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) highlight the need for a full understanding of a host nation’s resilience to withstand the hardships of armed conflict.  The same holds true for communities impacted by natural disasters.  Academic research on resilience across multiple disciplines (social sciences, engineering, biology) has practical applications for data collection and analysis to inter-agency planners in developing strategies to restore the critical functions of civil society.  This leads to our foundational research questions:

  1. What attributes (human, social, cultural, political, economic, technological) within a community are essential to ensuring resilience?
  2. How are they measured?
  3. How are they interrelated?

This research will provide a deeper intellectual understanding of what makes communities “bounce back” (or not) after a significant disturbance, and culturally sensitive metrics for measuring resilience of local populations that can be used for planning response, and rebuilding. The knowledge gained in this collaboration will also find immediate application in other fields with high uncertainty including emergency management and disaster response planning.


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About Ines Mergel

I am Full Professor of Public Administration at the Department of Politics and Public Administration at University of Konstanz, Germany. Previously, I served as Assistant and then Associate Professor (with tenure) at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, NY. In my research, I focus on informal social networks in the public sector and the adoption and diffusion of digital service innovations in government organizations. I teach classes on social media management, digital government, public management, and social network analysis.

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