August 16, 2017

Volume 3, Number 1 (Fall 2012)

 

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION

Richard W. Schwester, Ph.D.

 

Peer-Reviewed Scholarship


SOCIAL SOLIDARITY AND WELLBEING AFTER CRITICAL INCIDENTS: THREE CASES OF MASS SHOOTINGS

James Hawdon, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 
Pekka Räsänen, Ph.D.
University of Turku (Finland)
 
Atte Oksanen, P.D.
University of Turku and Finnish Youth Research Network (Finland)
 
John Ryan, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

 

Critical incidents often result in amplified social solidarity among the members of a traumatized community. Some argue this solidarity accelerates recovery and supportive social environments decrease the likelihood of PTSD and other health problems after traumatic events. However, little research investigates if social solidarity influences wellbeing independent from the social support that accompanies heightened solidarity. That is, does feeling attached to a group protect one from negative events even if social support is lacking? We investigate the relationship between solidarity and wellbeing after tragedies by analyzing three mass shootings: a mall shooting in Omaha, Nebraska and two school shootings in Finland. Our results indicate that social solidarity decreases depressive symptomology in all three cases and promotes wellbeing in both the short and long-term. The influence of solidarity on wellbeing remains even when controlling for other known predictors of depression, including social support. Therefore, solidarity’s influence on wellbeing appears to be substantial and enduring. Importantly, our research also demonstrates that the relationship between solidarity and wellbeing holds across cultures.

Keywords: PTSD, Trauma, critical incidents

 

 

IS BEST PRACTICE ALWAYS THE BEST? LEARNING TO BECOME BETTER CRISIS MANAGERS

Edward Deverell, Ph.D.
Swedish National Defence College

 

This article argues for a reassessment of the idea of learning from critical incidents and crises in organizations. Crisis management research looks upon crisis-induced learning as highly desirable albeit immensely challenging. This paper argues that, although learning from crisis is important for crisis management performance, the idea of crisis-induced learning holds an intrinsic contradiction, which becomes one of the main challenges to building crisis management capacities and competencies from lessons learned from previous crisis experiences. As crises are dynamic and evolving processes permeated by uncertainty and elements of surprise, learning from prior crisis experiences will not suffice for an effective future crisis response. Empirical episodes from inductive case studies are used to show that learning from crisis can lead to rigid structures and behavior hampering crisis management and organizational resilience. The study concludes by discussing conditions that need to accompany crisis-induced learning processes in organizations in order to avoid rigidity in future crisis response.

Keywords: crisis management, critical incident, organizational resilience

 

 

PARENTAL REACTIONS AND POSTTRAUMATIC SYMPTOMS IN ASIAN SURVIVORS OF THE APRIL 16TH SHOOTING AT VIRGINIA TECH

Kaushalendra Amatya
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 
Russell T. Jones, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
 
Michael Hughes, Ph.D.
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

 

The negative impacts of mass shootings on mental health have been documented within the general trauma literature. Substantial research has also shown the Asian population to be a minority group especially vulnerable to negative psychological outcomes following trauma and stress. Parental behaviors have been found to have substantial impact on mental health among college students. The relationship between parental reactions and psychological outcomes following mass shootings in the Asian population, however, has not been studied adequately. The purpose of this study was to examine perceived threat during traumatic events and four different parental reactions as predictors of posttraumatic stress, and each of the parental reactions as a moderator of the relationship between perceived threat and posttraumatic stress. Results indicate that higher levels of perceived threat and all four parental reactions predicted higher levels of posttraumatic stress. Parental reactions did not significantly moderate the relationship between perceived threat and posttraumatic stress. Clinical implications of these findings regarding mental health among Asians and college students are discussed.

Keywords: PTSD, trauma, critical incident

 

 

THE ROLE OF A SHIP’S MASTER IN THEORY AND PRACTICE: LESSONS FROM MARINE ACCIDENTS

Alexandros M. Goulielmos, Ph.D.
University of Piraeus, Greece
 
Androniki Gatzoli, Ph.D.
University of Piraeus, Greece

 

We analyzed seven marine accidents. The paper concurrently contributes to finding ways to remedy the ineffectiveness of ISM Code. The Code was supposed to eliminate ‘human error’. Statistical evidence shows that human marine accidents do occur. We show that an improvement in safety will be attained by understanding and improving ‘safety culture’ of ship masters. The ISM Code rested on ‘commitment on top’ of the company. We present shipping company’s culture and the attitude of an autocratic captain. We analyze the requirements of ISM Code from a ship’s captain, showing that the Code is a ‘total safety management’ standard, not a quality standard as proclaimed. We show that a master’s lack of understanding not only of linear, but also of nonlinear, management, leadership and motivation are serious shortcomings in marine accidents. Most captains in the case-studies analyzed here are shown to act under commercial pressure. Master’s culture is important due to the ‘management from a distance’ that exists in shipping industry. Moreover, as shown, the provisions of the Code give a master the overriding authority in emergencies. He is the dominant personality who may ‘commit’ a mistake that results not only in the loss of the ship and the cargo, but also of his life. The case-studies showed that masters were unable to visualize the outcome of an impending danger in time, or to learn from similar accident (Estonia), or to assess the severity of the weather beforehand. The analysis uses the concept of ‘logistics equation’ as a ‘marine accident model’. Our recommendation to improve safety and protect marine environment is for a change of culture towards ‘one of open access communications’ on board and within company.

Keywords: marine accidents, crisis management, critical incident