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Exploring the dynamics


a local government displays higher organizational attention

towards EM, it can actively learn a wide variety of approaches

for dealing with disasters, and recognize the importance and

necessity of collaboration in this policy area, which may

eventually increase the local government’s willingness to

collaborate vertically and horizontally.

(C) Mutual Understanding

Alter and Hage (1993) argue that an important contributor

to collaboration is the willingness to cooperate. However, they

also suggest that “willingness to cooperate starts from the

awareness and understanding of other organizations’ needs and

the perception that they are in some way compatible with one’s

own.” In other words, understanding possible partners by

collecting useful information about them is a necessary step in

the process of effectively reducing potential communication

conflicts and increasing the probability of other parties being

willing to collaborate. Ansell and Gash (2008) also indicate that

mutual understanding through face-to-face dialogue is a

necessary condition for collaboration. In light of transaction

costs, understanding the needs and resources of potential

partners before deciding to collaborate is also a means of

reducing the risks and costs generated by information

asymmetry (North, 1990). Regarding EM, local governments

can understand the thoughts of vertical and horizontal partners

through reading information from state and federal

governments or meeting regularly with their mutual aid partners

in the process of designing local EM plans and preparedness


(D) Institution/National Standards

An institution can be defined broadly as the prescription

according to which all repetitive and structured human

interactions are organized (Ostrom, 2005). In the case of EM