Multi-organisational environment is demonstrating more complexities due the ever-increasing tasks’ complications in modern environments. Disease outbreak coordination is one of these complex tasks that require multi-skilled and multi-jurisdictional agencies to coordinate in dynamic environment.
This research discusses theoretical foundations and practical approaches to suggest frameworks to study complex inter-organisational networks in dynamic environments, specifically during disease outbreak. We study coo¬¬rdination as being an interdisciplinary domain, and then uses social network theory to model it.
I have surveyed 70 health professionals whom have participated in the swine influenza H1N1 2009 outbreak. I collected both qualitative and quantitative data in order to build a comprehensive understanding of the dynamics of the inter-organisational network that evolved during that outbreak. Then I constructed a performance model by use three main components of the network theory: degree centrality, connectedness and tie strength as the independent variables, and disease outbreak inter-organisational performance as the dependent one. In addition, we study both the formal networks and the informal ones. Formal networks are based on the standard operating structures, and the informal ones emerge based on trust, mutual benefits and relationships.
Results suggest that the proposed social network measures have positive effect on coordination performance during the outbreak in both formal and informal networks, except centrality in the formal one. In addition, none of those measures influence performance before the outbreak.
Practically, the results suggest that increasing the communication frequency and diversifying the tiers of the inter-organisational links enhance the overall network’s performance in formal coordination. In the informal one, links are created with the intention to improve performance; hence, all suggested network measures improve performance.