Managing boundaries at the accident scene: a qualitative study of collaboration exercises

Annika Andersson, Eric D. Carlström, Bengt Åhgren, Johan Berlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose The purpose of this study is to identify what is practiced during collaboration exercises and possible facilitators for inter-organisational collaboration.

Design/methodology/approach Interviews with 23 participants from four exercises in Sweden were carried out during autumn 2011. Interview data were subjected to qualitative content analysis.

Findings Findings indicate that the exercises tend to focus on intra-organisational routines and skills, rather than developing collaboration capacities. What the participants practiced depended on roles and order of arrival at the exercise. Exercises contributed to practicing leadership roles, which was considered essential since crises are unpredictable and require inter-organisational decision-making.

Originality/value The results of this study indicate that the ability to identify boundary objects, such as injured/patients, was found to be important in order for collaboration to occur. Furthermore, lessons learned from exercises could benefit from inter-organisational evaluation. By introducing and reinforcing certain elements and distinct aims of the exercise, the proactive function of collaboration exercises can be clarified.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-94
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Emergency Services
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Swedish Standard Keywords

  • Pedagogical Work (50304)
  • Public Administration Studies (50602)
  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology (30302)
  • Business Administration (50202)
  • Sociology (504)


  • Accident
  • Ambulance
  • Collaboration
  • Exercise
  • Fire department
  • Police


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