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Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management

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Incorporating Time Dynamics in the Analysis of Social Networks in Emergency Management

Jeroen Wolbers
  • Corresponding author
  • Organization Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Email:
/ Peter Groenewegen
  • Organization Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
/ Julia Mollee
  • Computer Science, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
/ Jan Bím
  • Computer Science, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Published Online: 2013-09-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2013-0019


Timely and adequate communication is essential for the response to emergency situations. The current vision on emergency response embraces the networked organization as an answer to the dilemmas of communication and information flows in crisis situations. With stabilization of the network paradigm, the focus question turns into how networks are perceived and in what manner they function. We argue that there is a need to attend to the way networks and their functioning are assessed. From the agenda that we derive, we pay attention to the manner in which the time critical nature of the communication during emergency situations can be captured in network terms. The focus on how network interaction unfolds over time is demonstrated by attending to a case of a tunnel incident in the Netherlands. It is argued that a structure-oriented network analysis misses much of the actions and that using the data to probe the communication patterns with additional methods for time dependency enhances our insights. Three approaches, time slices, two-mode analysis and information pathways, are then introduced and the outcomes are interpreted.

Keywords: communication; emergency; network; social network analysis; timeliness


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About the article

Corresponding author: Jeroen Wolbers, Organization Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, De Boelelaan 1081, 1081 HV Amsterdam, Netherlands, e-mail:

Published Online: 2013-09-24

Published in Print: 2013-10-01

Citation Information: Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, ISSN (Online) 1547-7355, ISSN (Print) 2194-6361, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsem-2013-0019. Export Citation

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