An exploration of cloud-based technology for enhancing emergency management: Cases from New Zealand
Lu, Y. (2019). An exploration of cloud-based technology for enhancing emergency management: Cases from New Zealand (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12441
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/12441
Despite widespread acknowledgement of the disruptive effect cloud-based technologies have in business, little is known about the role they might play in emergency management, in particular in natural emergencies. This research addresses this gap by exploring emergency management professionals’ perceptions of cloud usage in key emergency management lifecycle stages of preparedness and response. The Diffusion of Innovation theory is used as a theoretical lens to understand the factors that might influence emergency management professionals to utilise cloud-based technologies. It was employed as it focuses on understanding the adoption rate of an innovative technology. A multiple case study approach was employed involving six key New Zealand emergency services organisations. Twenty-nine semi-structured interviews were conducted with emergency professionals at both managerial and operational levels combined with three focus groups and five exercise observations. Data were analysed through grounded theory analysis. A comprehensive framework of multi-dimensional elements that influence the emergency professionals’ perceptions of cloud-based technology deployment was derived from the data. Six key elements were found to have significant influences on the emergency professionals’ perceptions against actual cloud-based technology usage in natural emergencies: organisational readiness, coordination, cloud-based technology characteristics, individual perceptions, individual readiness and non- cloud-based technology redundancy. Organisational readiness is shaped by four critical aspects: usage frequency, usage preparedness, organisational capacity, and training, which is a prerequisite for realising the success of cloud-based technology deployment when managing emergencies. Better inter-agency coordination enhances the emergency professionals’ confidence in using cloud-based technologies during the response stage. The cloud-based technology characteristics also significantly influence cloud-based technology deployment, including perceived advantages, perceived disadvantages, usefulness, and the deployment model type. The individual perception of enhancement expectation reflects the emergency professionals’ real needs in using cloud-based technologies when dealing with emergencies. The individual readiness includes human factors and knowledge, showing that personal attitudes towards cloud-based technology usage and cloud-based technology knowledge sufficiency influence cloud-based technology deployment for managing emergencies. Non- cloud-based technology redundancy eases the emergency professionals’ concerns of using cloud-based technologies when unexpected situations occur during natural emergencies. The framework highlights the need for examining diverse elements in an integrated manner to understand the emergency professionals’ utilisation patterns of cloud-based technologies for managing natural emergencies. The thesis concludes that awareness of the emergency professionals’ cloud-based technology utilisation patterns can help inform the use of cloud-based technologies to improve and integrate emergency preparations and responses. The research contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of both cloud computing and emergency management by providing a comprehensive framework to reveal an in-depth understanding of multi-dimensional elements that influence the emergency professionals’ perceptions of cloud-based technology deployment in natural emergencies. The framework can be used as practical guidelines for similar emergency services organisations to enhance organisational and individual readiness in cloud-based technology utilisation to carry out more effective emergency management performance.
The University of Waikato
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