Information sharing and trust during major incidents: Findings from the oil industry

Authors

  • Nurain Hassan Ibrahim,

    1. AIMTech Research Group, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (C-TIE), Room 1.21, 10–12 Cromer Terrace, Leeds University Business School, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
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  • David Allen

    1. AIMTech Research Group, Centre for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (C-TIE), Leeds University Business School, Maurice Keyworth Building, University of Leeds, Leeds, United Kingdom
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Abstract

Communication and information sharing during the response to a major incident on oil rigs have been identified as significantly influencing capability to control, manage, and limit the effect of the incident. This article reports on one of the few studies of information sharing during such incidents. Interviews drawing on the critical incident technique were conducted with offshore emergency responders and supplemented by internal organizational reports and observations of emergency response exercises. We propose a counterintuitive relationship between trust and information sharing. We argue that better information sharing plays a crucial role in instilling or enhancing trust and that in the time-bound, uncertain, and highly volatile context of offshore emergency response, if trust collapses, then it must be rebuilt swiftly and this can be done through more effective information sharing. We explore this argument using the activity theory concept of contradictions and argue that apparent contradictions in the activity system and the behavior of emergency responders should be analyzed and interpreted by taking into account crucial contextual characteristics. The article draws on further support from relevant literature, including that of the information science, organization, and communication fields.

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