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Strategic Objectives in Complex Planning Environments: Insights from a Swedish Case for Critical Infrastructure Protection
Mid Sweden University, Faculty of Science, Technology and Media, Department of Information Systems and Technology. (RCR)ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4869-5094
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Large-scale and long-term planning imposes extensive requirements on governance efforts regardless of whether it involves public organisations, private organisations, or both. The proportions of such planning entangle many actors and stakeholders as system components within and around a complex system. These system components and conditions in a complex planning environment introduce a diverse variety of strategic objectives into the planning. This study investigates how strategic objectives can affect the governance of complex planning systems, particularly in the context of national critical infrastructure protection. For this purpose, this thesis concentrates on a national planning procedure, STYREL, which Sweden has recently implemented for the case of power shortages. This case involves various actors from the national, regional and local levels who act on behalf of both public and private organisations in a planning process with four-year intervals, and it thus constitutes a relevant subject for this study. The investigation entailed the collection of evidence from documents and interviews. First, publicly available Swedish documents regarding the case provided an understanding of the planning. Second, interviews with decision-makers who are entrusted with this planning at municipalities and county administrative boards as well as with a few planners from power grid providers offered a deeper comprehension of both the proceedings in practice and the strategic objectives involved in this complex system for planning of critical infrastructure protection. Particularly, the findings resulted in several conceptual models that demonstrate these understandings in more detail. A soft system model visualises the problem situation and contains several elements, such as the system components, interrelations and conditions. Moreover, a multi-level planning model specifies sources of uncertainty in the planning and decision-making process that are associated with an insufficient alignment of strategic objectives in the STYREL case. These decompositions of the Swedish planning environment – both horizontal and vertical – further enabled this study to identify significant parameters of the systemic conditions and strategic objectives involved in such complex planning environments that challenge their governance. The findings of this study suggest that the Swedish process is not yet fully developed. The investigation particularly indicates that a better alignment of strategic objectives is necessary to ensure a selection of adequate goals and means that advances the future usability of the produced plan, which in turn would legitimate and strengthen this complex planning process for critical infrastructure protection.

Abstract [sv]

Storskalig och långvarig planering ställer höga krav på styrning. Detta gäller oavsett om offentliga eller privata organisationer, eller båda, är involverade. Omfattningen av en sådan planering engagerar många aktörer och intressenter som komponenter inom och omkring ett komplext system. Dessa komponenter samt deras villkor inbäddade i en komplex planeringsmiljö skapar en mångfald av strategiska målbilder som följer med in till planeringen. Denna studie undersöker därför hur strategiska målbilder kan påverka styrningen av komplexa planeringssystem, särskilt i kontexten av skyddet av kritisk infrastruktur i samhället. Undersökningen fokuserar på en nationell planeringsprocess, kallad STYREL, som avser beredskapsplanering för elbristsituationer och som implementerats i Sverige. Planeringsmiljön omkring STYREL är ett relevant studieobjekt eftersom den involverar många aktörer från nationell, regional och lokal nivå. Dessa aktörer representerar offentliga och privata organisationer i den planeringsprocess som genomförs med fyraårsintervaller. Under undersökningens gång har bevis samlats in från dokument och intervjustudier. Först har offentlig tillgängliga dokument om fallet skapat en förståelse om planeringen. Intervjuer med beslutsfattare som är ansvariga för STYREL-planeringen hos länsstyrelser, kommuner samt elnätsbolag har sedan genererat en ännu djupare förståelse. Detta gällande både förfaringssättet i praktiken och de strategiska målbilder som är involverade i detta komplexa system för planering av kritisk infrastruktur-skydd. Resultaten ledde i synnerhet till några konceptuella modeller vilka demonstrerar förståelserna på ett detaljerat sätt. En systemmodell visualiserar problemsituationen och innehåller flera element såsom systemkomponenter, relationer och villkor. En multinivå-planeringsmodell specificerar källor av osäkerhet i planerings- och beslutsprocessen vilka är associerade med en otillräcklig harmonisering av strategiska målbilder i STYREL fallet. Dekompositionerna av den svenska planeringsmiljön – både horisontellt och vertikalt – gjorde det möjligt att identifiera signifikanta parametrar av de systemiska villkor och strategiska målbilder som är involverade i dessa komplexa planeringsmiljöer och utmanar deras styrning. Resultaten av studien indikerar att den svenska processen inte är fullt utvecklat. Undersökningen visar att en bättre harmonisering av strategiska målbilder är nödvändig för att säkerställa ett urval av adekvata mål och medel som skulle utveckla den framtida användbarheten av den producerade planen. Denna skulle i sin tur legitimera och stärka den komplexa planeringsprocessen för skyddet av kritisk infrastruktur. Därtill kunde detta främja en målgruppsorienterad kommunikation om risker och relevanta åtgärder.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sundsvall: Mid Sweden University , 2018. , p. 64
Series
Mid Sweden University licentiate thesis, ISSN 1652-8948 ; 136
Keyword [en]
Systemic Thinking, Soft Operations Research, design-oriented Information Systems Research, Governance, Complex Systems, Critical Infrastructure Protection, Largescale Planning, Multi-level Planning, Strategic Management
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32820ISBN: 978-91-88527-39-4 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:miun-32820DiVA, id: diva2:1181543
Presentation
2018-03-07, M 207, Holmgatan 10, Sundsvall, 13:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 40307-1
Note

Vid tidpunkten för framläggningen av avhandlingen var följande delarbeten opublicerade: delarbete 1 under granskning, delarbete 3 under granskning.

At the time of the defence the following papers were unpublished: paper 1 under review, paper 3 under review.

Available from: 2018-02-09 Created: 2018-02-09 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Collaboration and Decision-making in Response Planning for Power Shortages: The Swedish Policy
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Collaboration and Decision-making in Response Planning for Power Shortages: The Swedish Policy
Show others...
(English)In: Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32822 (URN)
Available from: 2018-02-09 Created: 2018-02-09 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically approved
2. Applying Systems Thinking onto Emergency Response Planning: Using Soft Systems Methodology to Structure a National Act in Sweden
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Applying Systems Thinking onto Emergency Response Planning: Using Soft Systems Methodology to Structure a National Act in Sweden
2017 (English)In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Operations Research and Enterprise Systems, Porto, Portugal, February 23-25, 2017 / [ed] Federico Liberatore; Greg H. Parlier and Marc Demange, SciTePress, 2017, p. 288-297Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper outlines a soft systems method approach to model a national preparedness planning procedure for the case of an electrical power shortage. Through the model, we provide a new perspective on enhancing and understanding the joint decision-making environment for the actors involved in the planning procedure, as well as its underlying power structure. By a process of abstraction from the current implementation, a core root definition is presented which provides a generic systems view that can be a useful concept for the study of similar contexts. An action model dedicated to determining meaningful and valid activities is derived, providing insights for the improvement of collaborative emergency response planning in general. The paper, thus, aims to contribute to the communication and cooperation between actors and stakeholders in the development of appropriate decision processes and decision support in the context of emergency preparedness.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SciTePress, 2017
Keyword
Soft Systems Methodology, Operations Research, Emergency Response Planning, Decision Support, Styrel
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30573 (URN)10.5220/0006126202880297 (DOI)000413254200030 ()978-989-758-218-9 (ISBN)
Conference
International Conference on Operations Research and Enterprise Systems - ICORES
Projects
Från myndighet till medborgare och tillbaka: En studie av samverkan och kommunikation inom ramen för Styrel
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 40307-1
Available from: 2017-04-04 Created: 2017-04-04 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically approved
3. Sources of Uncertainty in Swedish Emergency-Response Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sources of Uncertainty in Swedish Emergency-Response Planning
2018 (English)In: Journal of Risk Research, ISSN 1366-9877, E-ISSN 1466-4461Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

With the growing importance of enhancing modern society’s resilience, planning for critical infrastructure protection has become essential. However, such national planning must contend with many types of uncertainty. This paper characterises sources of uncertainty that are associated with a lack of knowledge, as exemplified by Swedish planning of emergency power supplies. The planning under investigation concerns civil protection from the negative effects of a power shortage. A decision process is intended to support this national strategic management goal by identifying and prioritising electricity consumers who are critical to society at the local, regional and national levels. The analysis of related documentation yields three sources of uncertainty (S) interrelated with this multi-level planning (MLP) for emergency response: (S1) the planning process in general, (S2) the decision-making process in particular and (S3) the direction and guidance alongside these processes. Interviews with decision-makers reveal a detailed specification of these sources of uncertainty. The results thus provide a solid basis for further goal-directed improvement of national MLP approaches. Moreover, this specification contributes to scholarly debate on the systemic effects of sources of uncertainty due to a lack of knowledge. Lastly, the findings constitute a thinking framework that is suggested as a foundation for analytical work in similar complex planning environments as well as for evidence-based communication to the wider public concerning risks and resilience.

Keyword
complex planning environment, Critical infrastructure protection, decision process, emergency power supply, multi-level planning, public strategic management
National Category
Information Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-32823 (URN)10.1080/13669877.2018.1459796 (DOI)
Available from: 2018-02-09 Created: 2018-02-09 Last updated: 2018-05-16Bibliographically approved
4. Research in Complex Planning Situations: Dimensions and Challenges From Swedish Response Planning
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Research in Complex Planning Situations: Dimensions and Challenges From Swedish Response Planning
2017 (English)In: 16th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies (ECRM 2017) / [ed] Dr Katrine Lawlor and Dr Anthony Paul Buckley, Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 2017, p. 432-440Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Even beyond the context of critical infrastructure protection, complex planning situations involve several views on and interests in problems underlying the planning. These views are often interrelated with stakeholders bringing various concerns to both the planning itself and the plan’s future utilisation. Complex, real-world situations in particular challenge scholars in building appropriate research strategies and selecting adequate scientific approaches. Therefore, interdisciplinary research problems can require an adaption of traditional research paradigms to different facets of intricacy. However, debate on scientific approaches regarding how to gain knowledge has been perpetual. This paper contributes to this debate and provides a multi-perspective kaleidoscope for complex and interdisciplinary research. This kaleidoscope aims to support a selection of appropriate research strategies in accordance with a given research problem. For this purpose, the kaleidoscope helps gradually focus the problem. It begins with an assembling of research disciplines, continues with selecting adjacent research areas and completes the framework with applicable methods. As an example of implementation, the study further presents a concrete application and adapts the kaleidoscope to a complex research case. This case, called STYREL, represents Swedish response planning that is dedicated to ensuring swift response during a power shortage event. This planning process is concerned with anticipated decisions, which can quicken decision-making during emergencies, particularly during power shortages. This case can also serve as a metaphor, because designing a multi-perspective research strategy for interdisciplinary research may similarly require thorough consideration of possible alternatives and their complex combinations in advance. Both circumstances come furthermore with a constant need for argumentation and communication. For this, the paper contributes a flexible scientific frame of reference. This multi-perspective kaleidoscope, which is applicable to both theoretical and empirical complex research problems, facilitates communication about the selection process of a research methodology among the research community.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Reading, UK: Academic Conferences and Publishing International Limited, 2017
Keyword
Complex Planning Situation, Interdisciplinary Research Design, Multi-perspective Kaleidoscope, Scientific Discourse, National Strategic Management, Emergency Power Governance
National Category
Information Systems Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:miun:diva-30973 (URN)978-1-5108-4521-3 (ISBN)
Conference
16th European Conference on Research Methodology for Business and Management Studies, Dublin, Ireland, June 22-23, 2017
Projects
Från myndighet till medborgare och tillbaka: En studie av samverkan och kommunikation inom ramen för Styrel
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 40307-1
Available from: 2017-06-24 Created: 2017-06-24 Last updated: 2018-02-09Bibliographically approved

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