How Virtual and Technical Communities Can Contribute to U.N. Led Humanitarian Relief Operations – Boundary Spanning and The Exploration of Collaborative Information Practices
Sabou J, Klein, S
In recent years the growing number of natural disasters yielding increasingly devastating consequences has put pressure on humanitarian organizations to supply humanitarian aid in efficient ways. Coordination of humanitarian actors when they are deployed to sites of crises greatly depends on the flow of information regarding their operations, and the use of online media and information systems has had an impact on their speed and effectiveness. In recent years formal humanitarian organizations have experimented working with virtual and technical communities (V&TCs) in an effort to create robust humanitarian data and information products like crisis mapping techniques that augment coordination of physical responses in the field. This paper presents results that suggest that the collaboration of UN humanitarian organizations struggle to incorporate the contributions of V&TCs mainly due to institutional governance structures, and that the success of their collaboration often rests with a few individuals in boundary spanning positions.
Network governance; information management; humanitarian relief; boundary spanning