Coordination in Crises

A certain type of organization interests me. Hospitals, law enforcement, and emergency response organizations are examples. This type of organizaton exists as an autonomous entity, but has to operate as a part of a geographically dispered, interconnected, and often hierarchically administered and regulated system. This type of organization is required to respond quickly to external stimuli, to be capable of improvisational change, and to be resilient. For this type of organization, the social and material cost of errors is high. These are organizations that are essential for modernity, and the idea of 21st century civilization. The organizational literature has addressed this type of organization to some extent in the High Reliability Organizations, and Fast Response Organizations literatures. I'm interested in how intentional change is coordinated in such organizations. I'm also interested in what factors allow for change to occur quickly and often.

I got a field site for my doctoral studies, a tertiary care hospital (which primarily takes in patients with advanced and rare illnesses). And then COVID-19 happened. Naturally, I leaned into it. I started doing interviews towards the end of the first wave of the pandemic in late winter/spring 2020. This is emerging to be a study on how the coordinated response of a hospital to COVID-19 evolved over the course of the crisis. This is what I am actively collecting data for at the moment. I have a small collection of memos and transcripts and a couple manuscript attempts from classes and a conference. This is something I will continue to work through, hopefully all the way to publication.