Towards a common framework to support decision-making in high-risk, low-time environments

David Launder, Greg Penney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
26 Downloads (Pure)


In a recently published study, we completed a systematic literature review of 10,084 peer reviewed English language studies since 2000 within the context of threat assessment, sense making, and critical decision-making in police, military, ambulance, and firefighting contexts. The results of our descriptive analysis found that although research into threat assessment and decision-making has been historically ‘siloed’ from a service context perspective there are nonetheless some common elements that have either independently identified or in some instances coevolved. The insights gained and lessons learned from this vast data pool enabled the enhancement of the urban fire service operational response-based SPAR decision framework into the Situation, Context, Decision, Plan, Act, Review or SPAR (CD) framework, a true interoperable all hazards and all services decision-making framework that not only incorporates complexity analysis and contextual factors but is applicable to the full spectrum of emergency management operations. It is hoped that the application of a common framework may facilitate cross industry learnings by applying a more consistent lens for the review of high-risk, low-time decisions and the identification of common decision errors and effectiveness (and measurement) of current strategies to improve decision-making including learning and development and policy and procedure design and implementation. While the SPAR (CD) framework has been developed based on research in high consequence and low time emergency service and military environments, we posit it is equally as applicable in other environments including business contexts and board rooms wherever decisions are required.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-876
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Contingencies and Crisis Management
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


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