There are situations where organized cooperation of a group is needed. This organisation can break down. And it may be that the breakdown can not be prevented, and is expected.

If there is reason to expect that coordination gets lost, one needs to have a way to recover from that. It would be an organized process acting on a group that is currently not capable of coordination in itself.

Is there a systematic approach how to handle that?

A good example is a group of firefighters working on a fire, when the group is not one team, but multiple sub groups from different locations, and there are additional independent volunteer firefighters.

This group can be organized centrally by choosing a commanding firefighter. This works fine, and normally, it does no fail later.

The important point is, that there can be an unexpected event that causes confusion. For example, firefighters get lost or encircled by fire. Urgent help is needed. The information that the emergency exists and what the nature of the emergency is, will get known in an unpredictable way, in a group spread between unpredictable locations. Also, it needs to be found out where the firefighter in danger is - a place that is not easily accessible. The situation is just too complex to be handled it a systematic way. The two things that is known to all is that it is really urgent, and that is unclear what exactly is urgent.

So at first, many people do not know what to do, because they can not, and can not know that they can not know.

(A meeting in a central place is not an option. Coordination by radio communication may not reach everybody.)

I do not know what firefighters do currently to handle the situation, but I assume that it does not work always. So I try to understand whether there is a scientific approach to solve it.

A pretty good illustration of some of the complications is the Youtube video "Randolph Firefighter fell out of a second-story window caught on Fire Helmet Camera | firefighting".

New contributor
Volker Siegel is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

Your Answer

Volker Siegel is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.