Crisis response is generally acknowledged as a crucial aspect of crisis management. Crisis response often requires a need to improvise because the circumstances demand spontaneous innovation that departs from established procedures. Although previous research has acknowledged improvisation as a valuable component of crisis response, it has not provided adequate conceptual understanding of improvisation. Moreover, studies on the role played by information technology (IT) in crisis are inconsistent regarding the ways that IT may support improvised responses. As a result, few recommendations could be formulated to guide practitioners in using IT to respond to crises, thereby wasting crucial resources. This paper proposes a definition of improvisation that emphasizes its relationship to dynamic capabilities and organizational routines. Using this definition, we analyze the literature on crisis management. The results show that IT enables the reuse of existing resources in novel and spontaneous ways but also supports collaboration and leadership expertise.
Adrot, Anouck and Robey, Daniel, "Information Technology, Improvisation and Crisis Response: Review of Literature and Proposal for Theory" (2008). AMCIS 2008 Proceedings. 397.