Initial Crisis Agent-Response Impact Syndrome (ICARIS)
Along with a long-time colleague of mine, Tobin Hensgen, I have co-authored a paper on informational issues faced by first-responders to crises.
Hensgen, T., Desouza, K.C., and Durland, M. “Initial Crisis Agent-Response Impact Syndrome (ICARIS),” Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 14 (4), 2006, 190-198.
There has been a dramatic shift in attitude among organizations regarding the probabilities of crisis occurring. Once crises were considered the domain of the contingency management team that sought the fastest means to recovery, now the entire organization is compelled to take steps intended to mitigate conditions leading to a crisis. In this paper, the authors consider the organization’s ‘first responders’ i.e., those who become involuntarily placed in the decision making process because they are the first to become aware of the conditions which indicate impending crisis simply because they are ‘on scene.’ As agents of the organization, these persons will make initial decisions well before the implementation of any formal contingency plan and because their decisions will be based on incomplete assumptions, they are likely to be in error. The impact of these initial crisis-agent responses can cause irreparable damage to the organization, to the individuals within the organization, and to the surrounding environment. This tendency toward error is referred to as the initial crisis-agent response impact syndrome: ICARIS. Exercising a program that prepares all employees for the initial decisions that need to be made at the moment of crisis can mitigate problems related to this issue.