E. V. Danielsson & R. Johansson, Dep. of Social Science, MID SWEDEN UNIVERSITY, Östersund, Sweden
When incidents or disasters occur, focus is often on response operations at the incident site, or on the highest command of emergency response organizations. Studies on the work performed in staffs are, however, rare. The term “staff” is often used in connection with the line-staff organization, to denote a permanent support unit for executives. The staffs in focus for this study are, however, temporary and specific for a certain emergency response organization. They are activated when a sizeable incident or a disaster has taken place, and they are disbanded when the incident is over. The aim of this study was to investigate interaction within a joint staff when a number of emergency response organizations, geographically localized in the same building, created a joint staff during an exercise, in response to a (fictitious) major incident. Thereby, organizational boundaries were transgressed in a way that may sometimes occur at the incident site, but is very uncommon in staff organizations. The boundaries between staff units of different emergency response organizations are generally fixed and rigidly upheld, each staff more or less independently supporting the operative units of its own organization. The focus of this study was trans-boundary interaction under pressure within a joint staff.