Dilemmas and Discretion in Complex Organizations: Professionals in Collaboration with Spontaneous Volunteers During Disasters
Discretion is of major interest in research on professions. This article focuses on professionals’ discretionary reasoning about collaboration with spontaneous volunteers. By applying theories on discretion and institutional logics and drawing on disaster management research, we analyse interviews with fire and rescue service professionals involved in managing a large-scale forest fire in Sweden. We identify five major dilemmas concerning the involvement of spontaneous volunteers in the official disaster response and analyse the influence on professional reasoning of multiple institutional logics (professional, citizen, bureaucratic and market) embedded in the emergency organization. The analytical framework connects structure and agency by linking institutional logics to discretional reasoning, and the findings clarify professional emergency responders’ perspectives on the opportunities and challenges of involving spontaneous volunteers in an operation.
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Copyright (c) 2021 Sofia Persson, Sara Uhnoo
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