Network effects on learning during emergency events

Jafar Hamra, Rolf Wigand, Liaquat Hossain, Christine Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the factors that enhance or impede learning of individuals is instrumental in achieving organizational performance goals. In this study, the effect of social network structures on the learning attitudes of emergency personnel during an emergency event was investigated. On the basis of a social influence model of learning, a theoretical framework has been proposed to investigate the effects of network structure on learning outcomes of bushfire incident management teams. To test our framework, we investigated social network data, which were extracted from the transcripts of the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission report. Empirical results suggest that a network structure of emergency personnel can be identified, which plays a key role in the ability of those actors to engage in learning-related work activity, allowing them to adapt and improvise in complex emergency events. By presenting a model of learning-related work activity, based on a social network analysis of its structure, emergency staff members can strengthen their capacity to be flexible and adaptable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)387-397
Number of pages11
JournalKnowledge Management Research and Practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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