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Abstract

This paper investigates a previously overlooked phenomenon in crisis response information systems, namely inclusive crisis infrastructure. By expanding the well-acknowledged infrastructure concept with alternatives to understand the nature and scope of inclusive crisis infrastructures, this paper contributes to closing the gap between theory and practice by raising some research questions critical to the study of inclusive crisis infrastructures. The emerging literature on crisis response information systems suggests that external sourcing of information increasingly influences crisis response operations. To contribute to this discourse, the paper draws on Pipek and Wulf’s (2009) definition of work infrastructures and Palen and Liu’s (2007) conceptualization of peer-to-peer communications to develop a better understanding of the crisis response arena as a whole. In doing so, this paper goes beyond the emphasis on event-based technologies that currently dominate the crisis response information systems literature and instead argues why crisis infrastructures need to be both inward-looking and accommodating to technological and social outcomes parallel to formal response contexts. The novel conceptualization captures the fact that the crisis context contains collections of collective IT artifacts that are not aligned or related but that are, for autonomy reasons, interlinked to crisis organizations’ current IT infrastructure and may be of great value to such organizations if infrastructure capability options are considered.

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