Assessing the Utility of Work Team Theory in a Unified Command Environment at Catastrophic Incidents [open pdf - 587KB]
"Since 9/11 much progress has been made by Federal, State and local authorities to prepare for future Catastrophic Incidents. The March 1, 2004 release of the National Incident Management System (NIMS) mandated the use of Unified Command and Incident Management Teams (IMTs) for multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional incidents. These teams have strong potential for improving complex incident management. However, the potential for interagency conflict threatens effectual IMT functioning in the absence of team skills instruction as part of a national training curriculum. The current curriculum teaches technical skills and ICS role responsibilities, and omits skills needed to build healthy team dynamics. Training for IMTs needs to include more than technical skills ("What to do"), and that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) should expand the curriculum to include team dynamics ("How to do it"). Further, DHS need not "re-invent the wheel" when looking for sources of team dynamic theory, but need only look to and adapt the experience of business and academia. Over the past 20-25 years a variety of inter-organizational networks and Work Teams have been studied and field tested. This thesis examines literature lessons on the problems shared by Work Teams and IMTs, with particular emphasis on effectiveness and managing conflict."
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