University of Twente Student Theses


Boundary Spanners and Bystanders; Influencing functional helping behaviour

Hoogendoorn, R.A. (2014) Boundary Spanners and Bystanders; Influencing functional helping behaviour.

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Abstract:Whenever disaster strikes people tend to help themselves and others to safety. This kind of prosocial behaviour is called ‘emergent behaviour’ and more specifically helping behaviour of bystanders. The goal of this thesis is twofold; first it contributes to the crises and disaster literature with a theoretical refinement on the mechanisms that explain the witnessed helping behaviour. Secondly, it provides emergency workers with an important insight into how they can best make use of those helping bystanders. A comparative case study analysis of four major crises and disasters showed that emergency workers can be seen as so called boundary spanners; they have the ability to change their organisational structure to meet the newly emerged demands in exceptional situations like crises and disasters. In their interaction with bystanders they should give those bystanders clear instruction on how they can contribute. Additionally, when such a boundary spanner actively seeks the collaboration with helping bystanders, it will help prevent dysfunctional aspects such as an unclear overview of the response and interference with the information streams. By employing a right mix of hard and soft power in their collaboration, the emergency worker can increase and prologue functional helping behaviour.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:88 social and public administration
Programme:Public Administration MSc (60020)
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