Understanding culture in the context of emergencies: A step towards a more effective international spill response

23 May 2024

Understanding culture in the context of emergencies: A step towards a more effective international spill response

Angela Pinz√≥n Espinosa and Ayumi Therrien 

Paper presented at International Oil Spill Conference (IOSC), Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, Louisiana New Orleans 13-16 May 2024 

Following an incident, the spill response community is subject to intense pressure where uncertainty is prevalent, yet strong work relationships are often expected to be built on an ad- hoc basis amid intense time pressure. Building trust and adaptability are therefore essential to create an environment of open communication and effective cooperation between stakeholders, leading to an effective response.

Large-scale pollution events often necessitate the participation of international organisations, requiring an awareness of the cultural dimensions of the incident location. For instance, understanding the preferred style for decision-making, behaviour towards risk and uncertainty, and the level of trust in institutions can help in shaping an engagement strategy compatible with the national culture. With a common understanding of these dimensions and the local context, responders from various cultural and training backgrounds can better work towards an effective response. Through case studies, this paper explores how culture may influence the efficiency of a response, with particular focus on the role of international experts and their integration into the local response structure. By exploring cultural dimension frameworks, this analysis aims at helping international experts increase their effectiveness through an

Categories: Planning & operations, Papers