- Jan 2019
Emergency response and recovery is not a linear process; decisions that are made during the emergency phase will impact the recovery process. In practice, however, recovery often takes place in an ad hoc fashion because key decisions are not part of a strategic program to restore services and rebuild communities. (Dumam et al. 1993, p. 30)
This practitioner critique gets at the importance of better understanding temporal sensemaking and enactment during disasters since decisions can influence across the different phases
Stoddard argues that the use of time-and-space models in disaster research
Complete quote runs over 2 pages: "Stoddard argues that the use of time-and-space models in disaster research provides an important methodological disaster research tool. Most important, he contends that the different phases of disaster represent different types of individual and group behavior."
Stoddard's definition offers a solid framework to begin the conversation about how and why it's important to understand the interaction between pluritemporal modes of time and humanitarian response (individual and group sensemaking and enactment).
- Aug 2018
The term ‘enactment’ is used to preserve the central point that when people act, they bring events and structures into existence and set them in motion. People who act in organizations often produce structures, constraints, and opportunities that were not there before they took action.
Enactment is both a process and a product.
The way to counteract catastrophes, therefore, is to reduce tight coupling and interactive complexity. To do this, it seems important not to blame technology, but rather to look for and exag- gerate all possible human contributions to crises in the hope that we can spot some previously unnoticed contributions where we can exert leverage.
The primary process- and design implication suggested by enactment is to increase the ways to leverage human action and sensemaking during crises.
Perhaps the most important implication of enactment is that it might serve as the basis for an ideology of crisis prevention and management. By ideology, we mean a ‘relatively coherent set of beliefs that bind people together and explain their worlds in terms of cause-and-effect relations’ (Beyer, 1981, p. 166).
Definition of ideology of crisis prevention and management. This concept gets at how beliefs influence enactment -- as both a process and product.
Not only does action simplify tasks, it also often slows down the effects of one variable on another.
Action helps to clarify the crisis through narrowing/focusing cause/effect and interactions. Again, Weick notes a temporal dimension (speed) of actions but doesn't explore it explicitly.
Enactment affects crisis management through several means such as the psychology of control, effects of action on stress levels, speed of interactions, and ideology
First mention of temporality as "speed of interactions"
As people see more, they are more likely to notice things they can do something about, which confirms the perception of control and also reduces crisis intensity to lower levels by virtue of early intervention in its development
"Information is Aid" also contributes to the idea that enactment can assert a sense of control.
As forcefulness and ambiguity increase, enactment is more con- sequential, and more of the unfolding crisis is under the direct control of human action. Conversely, as action becomes more tentative and situations become more clearly structured, enactment processes will play a smaller role in crisis development and managment. Enactment, therefore, will have most effect on those portions of a crisis which are loosely coupled.
Again, another argument for "Information is Aid" as a way to clarify the known situation, provide more complete descriptions of potential action, etc., this ultimately helps to decrease ambiguity.
These possibili- ties are more likely to be seen if we think of large crises as the outcome of smaller scale enactments. When the enactment perspective is applied to crisis situations, several aspects stand out that are normally overlooked. To look for enactment themes in crises, for example, is to listen for verbs of enactment, words like manual control, intervene, cope, probe, alter, design, solve, decouple, try, peek and poke (Perrow, 1984, p. 333), talk, disregard, and improvise. These verbs may signify actions that have the potential to construct or limit later stages in an unfolding crisis
Curious why temporality is never mentioned as a dynamic of enactment. It's somewhat implied in the idea of acting in the moment or responding after the fact, but sensemaking and social construction is inherently temporal.
The assumptions that top management make about components within the firm often influence enactment in a manner similar to the mechanism of self-hlfdling prophecy. Many of these assumptions can increase or decrease the likelihood that small errors will escalate into major crises. Thus, assumptions are an important source of crisis prevention.
Beyond the top management examples provided here, could expectations that DHN work is untrustworthy or inaccurate escalate crisis response due to incomplete situational awareness or an assumption it must be produced in a certain way?
Capacity can also affect crisis potential through staffing decisions that affect the diversity of acts that are available. Enactment is labour-intensive, which means understaffing has serious effects.
Diverse labor force is also a central principle of effective crowdsourcing and collective intelligence.
Capacity and response repertoire affect crisis perception, because people see those events they feel they have the capacity to do something about. As capacities change, so too do perceptions and actions. This relationship is one of the crucial leverage points to improve crisis management.
This gets at the idea of information as a form of humanitarian aid.
Action in the form of capacity can affect crisis management through perception, distribution of competence and control within a hierarchy, and number and diversity of actors.
Capacity seems to have an actor/agency quality to it.
When action is irrevocable, public and volitional, the search for explanations becomes less casual because more is at stake. Explanations that are developed retrospec- tively to justify committed actions are often stronger than beliefs developed under other, less involving, conditions. A tenacious justification can produce selective attention, confident action, and self-confirmation. Tenacious justifications prefigure both perception and action, which means they are often self-confirming.
Enactment becomes visible when retrosepctive sensemaking about the crisis event incorporates commitment/justification for previous actions.
Commitment is a double-edged sword: It can help construct useful sensemaking or can perpetuate inaccurate assumptions.
Is there a form of satisficing happening here?
From the standpoint of enactment, initial responses do more than set the tone; they determine the trajectory of the crisis. Since people know what they have done only after they do it, people and their actions rapidly become part of the crisis. That is unavoidable. To become part of the problem means that people enact some of the environment they face. Had they not acted or had they acted differently, they would face a different set of problems, opportunities and constraints.
crisis trajectory signals a temporal aspect to the event (Reddy's timeline dimension) and to a person's enactment (Reddy's horizon dimension).
Thus, an enacted environment has both a public and a private face. Publicly, it is a construction that is usually visible to observers other than the actor. Privately, it is a map of if-then assertions in which actions are related to out- comes. These assertions serve as expectations about what will happen in the future.
How does the process of social coordination influence the actions, interpretations, and predictions that are enacted from the map?
At the heart of enactment is the idea that cognition lies in the path of the action. Action precedes cognition and focuses cognition. The sensemaking sequence implied in the phrase, ‘How can I know what I think until I see what I say?’ involves the action of talking, which lays down traces that are examined, so that cognitions can be inferred. These inferred cognitions then become pre- conceptions which partially affect the next episode of talk, which means the next set of traces deposited by talk are affected partially by previous labels and partially by current context. These earlier inferences also affect how the next episode of talk is examined and what is seen.
Related to the preceding annotation, how does the social coordination process influence enactment?
Are the volunteers "talking out loud" on Slack as a means of sensemaking to themselves or with others?
An enacted environment is the residuum of changes produced by enactment. The word ‘residuum’ is preferred to the word ‘residue’ because residuum emphasizes that what is left after a process cannot be ignored or left out of account because it has potential significance (Webster‘s Dictionary of Synonyms, 1951, p. 694). The product of enactment is not an accident, an afterthought, or a byproduct. Instead, it is an orderly, material, social construction that is subject to multiple interpreta- tions. Enacted environments contain real objects such as reactors, pipes and valves. The existence of these objects is not questioned, but their significance, meaning, and content is. These objects are inconsequential until they are acted upon and then incorporated retrospectively into events, situations, and explanations.
Enactment as an environment.
Enactment is the social process by which a ‘material and symbolic record of action’ (Smircich and Stubbart, 1985, p. 726) is laid down. The process occurs in two steps. First, portions of the field of experience are bracketed and singled out for closer attention on the basis of preconceptions. Second, people act within the context of these bracketed elements, under the guidance of preconceptions, and often shape these elements in the direction of preconceptions (Powers, 1973). Thus, action tends to confirm preconceptions.
Enactment as a process.
- social coordination
- information is aid
- collective intelligence