Abstract for: Modeling the 2005 Hatlestad Slide

It has long been recognized that the management of emergencies requires that response organizations act flexibly, becoming an “emergent organization” to better manage the fact that disasters do not follow scripts. Nevertheless, recent research shows that crisis response organizations prefer to follow patterns adequate for normal situations. Arguably, the resistance to become an emergent organization could be related to poor understanding of how to move from disorganization to self-organization. We present a system dynamics model describing the transition from disorganization to self-organization in the management of the fatal Hatlestad landslide in Norway. We suggest that the causal structure of the system dynamics model describing the Hatlestad case should be considered a candidate for an emergent “middle-range theory” describing the management of disorganization in emergencies. We propose specific data collection to test the candidate theory.