Go to main content

Managing Pandemics—Demands, Resources, and Effective Behaviors Within Crisis Management Teams

Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

The corona crisis calls for crisis teams to a previously unknown extent. The aim of the project in cooperation with the NRW Fire Brigade Institute is to accompany this development. Success-critical factors as well as improvement potentials for future staff work and staff training are to be derived.

  • Discipline: Psychology, Other
  • Research Method: Mixed Methods
  • Research Design: Open survey (self-selected), Other data (e. g. web scraping, lab results)
  • Collection Status: Results published, Closed data collection, Data accessible

Ziel der Studie

Pandemics, such as the COVID‐19 crisis, are very complex emergencies that can neither be handled by individuals nor by any single municipality, organization or even country alone. Such situations require multidisciplinary crisis management teams (CMTs) at different administrative levels. However, most existing CMTs are trained for rather local and temporary emergencies but not for international and long‐lasting crises. Moreover, CMT members in a pandemic face additional demands due to unknown characteristics of the disease and a highly volatile environment. To support and ensure the effectiveness of CMTs, we need to understand how CMT members can successfully cope with these multiple demands.


A total of 144 CMT members was included into the analyses, 29 resulting from telephone interviews and 115 resulting from the online questionnaire. Of the participants, 83% were male and 17% were female, they were on average 43.83 years old (SD = 10.78, Min = 21, Max = 67), and they had various professional backgrounds (see Appendix Table A.3, available via http://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4288512), mainly in administration and civil service (23%) or as a fire department official (21%). The rate of those who completed a command unit training was 65%, which was completed on average 11.88 years (SD = 8.98, Min = 1, Max = 40) ago. Participants had been CMT members for an average of 11.29 years (SD = 7.81, Min = 0.5, Max = 35) and had served in 8.07 (SD = 9.58, Min = 1, Max = 50) actual crisis deployments. Still, 43% of participants stated that the current COVID-19 CMT was their first real mission. The sample included CMT members from various deployment levels (e.g., government, administration, disaster control, business, education), with different roles within the crisis team (see Appendix Table A.4), and with various levels of experience and training.


This online supplement includes

  • an appendix with additional information on sample characteristics,
  • the interview guide (in English and German),
  • raw data of quantitative variables and the codebook of variables.
    (Note: The raw data contains only the information of persons who were included in the analysis and have agreed to it. Some demographic information was deleted to ensure anonymity.)


Weiterführende Links


Thielsch, M. T., Röseler, S., Kirsch, J., Lamers, C. & Hertel, G. (2021). Managing pandemics – demands, resources, and effective behaviors within crisis management teams. Applied Psychology: An International Review, 70 (1), 150–187. https://doi.org/10.1111/APPS.12303