Potential of RFID in emergency management: a task-technology fit perspective

2017-05-15T06:44:56Z (GMT) by Ahmed, Ashir Zeeshan
An emergency is characterized as situation that carries a serious threat to human life and property. On the other hand, emergency management is a discipline that encapsulates all aspects of an emergency situation including risk, consequences and pre- and post-emergency activities, such as prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation. In order to deal with emergency situations and perform emergency management efficiently and effectively, significant efforts have been made in the recent past including the development of several emergency management models and the adoption of various state-of-the-art technologies. The objective of all these efforts is to minimize the impact of disastrous events and improve the performance of emergency management organizations. Due to the significance of emergency management and the success stories regarding the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) in various domains, this research explores the potential of adopting RFID in emergency management. As a first step in exploring the potential of RFID in entire emergency management process, this research looks at the process of ‘adoption’ prior to actual implementation of RFID. A lens of Task-Technology Fit (TTF) was employed to best understand the feasibility of RFID in emergency management. Due to the specific needs of emergency management and the unique features of RFID, the original Task-Technology Fit model was adapted and used to develop a research framework. This framework addresses various aspects of RFID adoption in emergency management, including: (a) key activities (task characteristics) of emergency management; (b) contributing factors involved in the adoption of RFID; and (c) perceived performance impacts of adopting RFID in emergency management. In order to validate the above-mentioned framework, a multiple case study was conducted. A total of five emergency management organizations located in Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland, participated in this study. These organizations were selected based on theoretical considerations and in order to enable analytical generalizations. In the context of technological adoption, the empirical findings of the multiple case study provided rich explanations as to the key activities and operations performed in the emergency management life cycle; factors that contribute to the decision to adopt a technology; and the key performance impacts that trigger the adoption of RFID in emergency management. Most components of the framework received empirical support. Some of them, however, were only partially supported and were revised based on the insights gained from the empirical findings. In conclusion, the revised framework, which shows the significance of various components, clearly explains the criteria for evaluating the potential of RFID in emergency management. Additionally, the technological features, and merits and demerits, offered by RFID were mapped against those criteria and provide valuable contributions to the researchers and practitioners working in the area of emergency management and radio frequency identification.