In emergency management, governance has historically been based on a structured hierarchy. As social media, ad-hoc collaboration across agencies, organizations, and volunteers, and emerging technologies become more prevalent, how governance will change is a key question for the emergency management community. It is a balancing act to ensure that new forms of governance and emergency management practices are inclusive of these changes while at the same time maintaining the correct chains of command and authorization.
For example, tightly structured governance could result in delayed response to citizen interaction over social media, but too unstructured could result in a lack of collaboration or conflicts. Throughout any emergency, high levels of communication are crucial to maintaining an awareness of the situation.
Internationally, governance greatly varies as counties have different infrastructures and common operating procedures. In international disaster response, there is a growing trend of self-forming groups operating out of numerous countries often coming together to enhance information sharing between governments, aid organizations, civil society and the survivors themselves.
It is important in considering the different aspects of next-generation governance that the focus includes potential opportunity for increase communications during the all the stages of an emergency (prevention, preparation, response and recovery).