Records-Making During Crisis Management – Rule Based or Discretion Driven?

  • Erik A. M. BorglundEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 12051)


During large crises, e.g. forest fires, flooding, terrorist attacks, or aircraft crashes, temporal organizations are set up to manage the crisis and minimize negative impacts on society. These temporal organizations are often called situation rooms. The purpose of this paper is to study what regulates the record-making practice in a police situation room. Qualitative research methods were used. Data was sourced from five different case studies in the Swedish police service. The tension between discretion and rule-based regulation has been used as the theoretical lens in this paper. Through the application of this theoretical lens of regulation, whereby the two extremes found were discretionary creation on the one hand and rule-based creation on the other, one can identify a real challenge in record-making practice. Much of the record-making was regulated discretionary, i.e. each regulated and motivated by a police officer’s own judgment. This kind of record-making is difficult to predict and consequently the created records may also be difficult to capture, simply because no-one knows that they exist. In non-temporal organizations’ recordkeeping practice, entire work processes can be identified, the records created in the processes can be identified in advance and the process can be supported by various information systems. But in the temporal organization, proactivity is more difficult to achieve and thus records created based upon discretion will probably not be proactively identified as being part of an activity in a process.


Crisis management Discretion Police Records-making Situation room 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mid Sweden UniversitySundsvallSweden

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