Multi-authority COP should not be the aggregation of specific local authorities COPs.

Yesterday, I had a full-day of exciting work with Associate professor Erik Borglund and the ‘societal security project-ninja’ Malin Lintzen as part of the MSB-project Ledning och Samverkan (LoS) and the work package on Information sharing and Common operating picture. Based on the models we have developed during this project, in combination with empirical insights collected during the last few months, tentative results are under construction.

Governmental authorities seems to have a fairly good capacity in creating COPs that address and support the specific authorities own management of a dynamic societal disturbance. This is not surprising in the light of the significant resources that MSB has provided in terms of education, exercises and development funding (2:4-funding) during the last few years.

Government authorities seems to have a much weaker capacity in creating COPs that address and support the mutual efforts in multi-agency collaboration to manage dynamic societal disturbances. This could be seen as surprising since, some scholars argue that Multi-agency COPs are just an aggregation of local COPs. But, our empirical insights point in a different direction. The possibility to aggregate data from an Authoritity-specific level to a higher common Multi-agency level seems too often to lead to information overload and lack of comprehension for the involved parties. ‘ -You share information but very little comes back’ is a common frustration expressed by local authorities.

Instead of focusing on aggregation of information, we are exploring how ‘translation’ between levels or ‘condensation’ of information could be more valid concepts. One could argue that this is just a language-game where the term ‘aggregation’ is just replaced with other and perhaps fancier terms. Such interpretation is wrong. Not very surprisingly, we have identified that specific and different affordances will emerge in the materialization of technology artifacts dependent of how the problem-domain is conceptualized.  This is yet again not a very new insight but the identification of the desired and specific affordances of Multi-authority COPs are far from well-known.

In addition, the implication of these still emerging insights is that key technology for supporting the creation of Multi-authority COPs in Sweden faces the risk of have been based on an inadequate theoretical foundation combined with a limited awareness of the heterogeneity of work practices.

Oh yes…. a research-paper is in work-in-progress.

2 thoughts on “Multi-authority COP should not be the aggregation of specific local authorities COPs.

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