Offence or defence?:approach and avoid goals in the multi-agency emergency response to a simulated terrorism attack

Power, Nicola and Alison, Laurence (2017) Offence or defence?:approach and avoid goals in the multi-agency emergency response to a simulated terrorism attack. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 90 (1). pp. 51-76. ISSN 0963-1798

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Abstract

When operating in multiteam settings, it is important that goals are cohesive between team members, especially in high-stakes, risky, and uncertain environments. This study explored goal consistency during a multiteam emergency response simulation. A total of n = 50 commanders from the UK Police Services, Fire and Rescue Services, and Ambulance Services took part in a simulated terrorism exercise, who were split into n = 13 teams. Each team responded to the same simulated terrorist event, which was based on a ‘Marauding Terrorist Firearms Attack’ (MTFA) at a city centre train station. Data were collected using electronically time-stamped ‘decision logs’ and post-incident questionnaires that measured team members’ self-reported goals. Goals that were ‘attack’ focussed (e.g., ‘treat patients’) were coded as ‘approach’ (i.e., focussed on achieving positive outcomes) and goals that were ‘defence’ focussed (e.g., protect emergency responders) were coded as ‘avoid’ (i.e., focussed on avoiding negative outcomes). It emerged that different agencies prioritized different goal types; Fire commanders initially prioritized avoid goals but then increased approach orientations, Ambulance commanders were consistently approach oriented, and Police commanders showed goal conflict (tensions between adopting approach and avoid goals). Despite goal differences, participants rated that their interagency goals were consistent in a post-scenario questionnaire, suggesting that commanders were unaware of the nuanced differences between their agency-specific objectives. At the multiteam level, teams who predominantly held attack/approach goals were significantly faster at decision logging early in the incident, yet defend/avoid teams were faster at decision logging later into the incident. Implications for multiteam coordination are discussed.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Power, N. and Alison, L. (2017), Offence or defence? Approach and avoid goals in the multi-agency emergency response to a simulated terrorism attack. J Occup Organ Psychol, 90: 51–76. doi:10.1111/joop.12159 which has been published in final form at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/joop.12159/abstract This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3202
Subjects:
ID Code:
81539
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
14 Sep 2016 08:22
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
09 Aug 2020 04:35