VARIATIONS OF STRATEGIC APPROACHES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SLOW-BURN AND ACUTE CRISIS (AN EXAMPLE OF WILDFIRES IN THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA)

Rejec, Jure and Dujovski, Nikola (2013) VARIATIONS OF STRATEGIC APPROACHES IN THE MANAGEMENT OF SLOW-BURN AND ACUTE CRISIS (AN EXAMPLE OF WILDFIRES IN THE REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA). In: INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE THE BALKANS BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE: SECURITY, CONFLICT RESOLUTION AND EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATION, 5-8, Ohrid.

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Abstract

Key aspects to be addressed within this discussion are related to the discipline of crisis management, a discipline that is relatively in its infancy and therefore related terminology abounds. Whilst the comprehensive study of crises can be traced back to the 1960s and 70s - mostly in areas such as psychology, sociology and disasters (Booth, 1993), it is the Tylenol poisoning disaster in the USA of 1982 and events such as Chernobyl, Bhopal and Challenger that gave rise in Europe to the discipline of crisis management (Mitroff, 2001; Falkheimer & Heide, 2006). The subsequent developments in this discipline have led to crisis management being described as a ‘heavily applied field’ where managers’ interest/demand for tools they could use in the face of a crisis started to grow as well (Coombs, 2000: 77) Slow-burn crises (also referred to as low-intensity or creeping crises) are often related to likely effects stemming from global warming; i.e. droughts, heavy rain falls and related floods, famine etc., or epidemics like HIV/AIDS, rabies or others whose source might be diffuse - both in terms of space and time and the full consequences of which may not be fully apparent from the outset. On the other end of the spectrum are acute crises most commonly put into the category of major emergencies. These usually have an initiating event, identifiable boundaries and a clear time span between initial recognition and declaration of an end to the crisis is limited and fairly clear (Institute of Lifelong Learning, 2006b). What this paper will examine are perspectives on conceptualizing the phenomenon of crisis and the coping mechanisms employed once a crisis occurs, or in other words once it is recognised that it is occurring. In so doing the key terms referred to in the title will be firstly looked upon. Putting 186 definitions on the table and exploring some related theories, the paper will then move to a case study of the situation surrounding wildfires in the Republic of Macedonia. As it will be shown even a dispersed situation like this can fall into the category of either slow-burn or/and an acute crisis, what implies that not only effects of seemingly remote situations should be regarded as a slow-burn crises. Rather, managerial efforts should be vastly applied to low-intensity events, the so called ‘creepers’ since it is these types of crises that at a first sight usually appear sudden or acute, but have actually been first a creeping crises not detected on time (Bernstein, 2011). Therefore, whilst a subtle division is sometimes made between different categories of crises, in the case of slow-burn and acute crises such divisions should be treated with caution as also a slow-burn crisis can result in an inherently acute shock if not treated on time. Consequently, albeit approaches between the two types of crises might differ in several aspects, the focus of strategy deployment should be based on an understanding that a slow-burn crisis presents a stage in the process of an acute one. For the purpose of this paper, the terms crisis and disaster are used interchangeably and approached in a context of required managerial action of a low-intensity situations. A crisis is referred to the stage where successful management may still lead to a successful outcome, and a disaster presenting an event where harmful effects already took place and damage needs to be limited (Institute of Lifelong Learning, 2006b). As strategic approach of dealing with such events is subject to this discussion, managers and/or decision makers are regarded as political officials, organisational leaders or other senior public officials that maintain executive powers, unless otherwise referred to in the text.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Scientific Fields (Frascati) > Social Sciences > Political science
Scientific Fields (Frascati) > Social Sciences > Other social sciences
Divisions: Faculty of Security
Depositing User: Olivera Trajanova
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2021 20:55
Last Modified: 25 Feb 2021 09:21
URI: http://eprints.uklo.edu.mk/id/eprint/6263

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