RESEARCH REPORTS - Chaos Theory, Informational Needs, and Natural Disasters - This study applies chaos theory to a system-wide analysis of crisis communication in a natural disaster. Specifically, we analyze crisis communication during the 1997 Red River Valley flood in Minnesota and North Dakota. This flood, among the worst in modern American history, consumed entire metropolitan areas, displacing thousands of people. The conditions and decisions leading to the disaster, and the subsequent reactions are retraced. Communication related to river crest predictions (fractals), the shock at the magnitude of the crisis (cosmology episode), novel forms of reorganizing (self-organization), and agencies that aided in establishing a renewed order (strange attractors) are evaluated. Ultimately, we argue that preexisting sensemaking structures favoring rationalized, traditional views of a complex system led officials to make inappropriately unequivocal predictions and ultimately diminished the effectiveness of the region's crisis communication and planning.

1. Person: Sellnow, Timothy L.
Weitere Personen: Seeger, Matthew W.; Ulmer, Robert R.
Quelle: in Journal of applied communication research : JACR Vol. 30, No. 4 (2002), p. 269-292
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Veröffentlicht: 2002
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