Independence, trust, and loyalty. The county governor's coordination of public and voluntary resources in crises in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAasland, T., & Braut, G. S. (2022). Independence, trust, and loyalty. The county governor's coordination of public and voluntary resources in crises in Norway. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management. 10.1111/1468-5973.12399
Collaboration and communication are crucial factors in handling crises, whether the crisis is a serious landslide requiring emergency response for several days or a pandemic lasting for months. This article describes and analyses the governmental relationship with the local communities in critical situations with the COVID-19 pandemic as a case. In the Norwegian administrative organisation, the county governors have a defined role in their emergency responsibilities, including being chairpersons of the County Emergency Council (CEC). The Norwegian emergency system is organised with samvirke (translated to English as coordinated cooperation) as a core constituency. In this system, voluntary organisations have a formalised role in taking an active part in crisis handling. The inclusion of voluntary organisations in the CEC, as seen by the county governors, is used as a case study. The challenges of collaboration can be analysed using the terms independence, trust, and loyalty. Data are collected from governing documents and interviews with the county governors. The main factor in successful coordination is the governors' ability to support the municipalities and the local communities. They must balance between wants of independence and state control. The art of this balancing act is the topic of this article.