Interorganizational Information Exchange and Efficiency: Organizational Performance in Emergency Environments
Achieving efficiency in coordinated action in rapidly changing environments has challenged both researchers and practitioners. Emergency events require both rapid response and effective coordination among participating organizations. We created a simulated operations environment using agent-based modeling to test the efficiency of six different organizational designs that varied the exercise of authority, degree of uncertainty, and access to information. Efficiency is measured in terms of response time, identifying time as the most valuable resource in emergency response. Our findings show that, contrary to dominant organizational patterns of hierarchical authority that limit communication among members via strict reporting rules, any communication among members increases the efficiency of organizations operating in uncertain environments. We further found that a smaller component of highly interconnected, self adapting agents emerges over time to support the organization's adaptation in changing conditions. In uncertain environments, heterogeneous agents prove more efficient in sharing information that guides coordination than homogeneous agents.
Volume (Year): 13 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()
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