Muddling through troubled water: resilient performance of incident management teams during Hurricane Harvey Academic Article uri icon


  • Modern communities face escalating threats from natural disasters. Thus, the resilience of incident management teams (IMTs) during adverse events becomes crucial to protect lives and physical systems. However, prior studies have only partially highlighted factors related to IMT resilience. To provide a holistic understanding of the resilience of the IMTs, this study conducted semi-structured interviews with 10 experienced IMT personnel during Hurricane Harvey. Thematic analysis revealed six characteristics of resilient IMTs during a hurricane event: (i) establishing a common operating picture, (ii) adopting and adapting plans and protocols, (iii) proactive, re-prioritizing, and unconventional decision-making, (iv) enhancing resourcefulness and redundancy, (v) learning for improved anticipation and response readiness, and (vi) inter-organisational relationship to promote IMT functions. As an empirical investigation of the resilience of the IMTs, the findings inform future endeavours for developing incident information technologies and strategies to harmonise pre-established plans with adaptive actions in the field and fostering capabilities to learn from incidents. Practitioner summary: Resilient incident management teams establish a common operating picture; effectively adopt and adapt plans and protocols; make decisions in an unconventional and anticipatory fashion; constantly re-prioritize goals and tasks; enhance resourcefulness and redundancy; continuously learn skills for improved anticipation and response readiness; and exhibit good inter-organisational coordination and planning skills.

altmetric score

  • 3.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Son, C., Sasangohar, F., Peres, S. C., & Moon, J.

citation count

  • 2

publication date

  • April 2020