Dealing with crisis
: a comparative study of simulation exercises in Korea and the UK

  • Hakkyong Kim

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    The thesis aims to examine simulation exercises comparatively in Korea and the UK, and provide practical suggestions for the future of Korean simulation exercises, based on lessons from the UK experiences and practices, regarding effective planning and execution of simulation exercises. To achieve this aim, two research questions were formulated. Firstly, ‘How are simulation exercises in Korea and the UK organised and conducted, and how can this knowledge be used to respond to crises or disasters more effectively?’. Secondly, ‘Why are new methodological changes to organise and conduct simulation exercises needed in Korea?’. In order to practically assess whether or not simulation exercises in Korea are sufficient in dealing with the nature and characteristics of a large-scale disaster, this thesis carries out an in-depth investigation of two real-life underground fires: the King’s Cross Underground Fire in the UK and the Daegu Subway Fire in Korea. Simulation exercises are influenced by the social,
    political, and cultural contexts of emergency management arrangements, and hence, the study also conducts a comparative study of emergency management frameworks in Korea and the UK.

    The current practices of simulation exercises in Korea can be categorised into the four main themes: ‘Top-level Commitment and Support’, ‘Repeating Training through Rehearsals’, ‘The Politics of Box Seats, Ill-structured Scenario-Scripts and a Lack of Adaptation’, and ‘The Politics of Podium and Speech-based Debriefs’. However, critical analysis of the empirical data in the study reveals that a complex and highly-coupled ‘socio-technical’ crisis does not respect such a conventional training and exercising methodology of Korean simulation exercises, and that a degree of ‘adaptation’ is indispensable to effective crisis response. Thus, it is proposed in the study that Korean simulation exercises need to allow adaptation and diversion to take place, encouraging communication and discussion between exercise players. Furthermore, ensuing afteraction reviews in Korea should be transformed into a discussion-based debriefing style to maximise learning effectiveness. Finally, it is suggested that emergency management arrangements in Korea should also evolve into a more flexible, decentralised, bottom-up model in terms of effective response to ‘socio-technical’ crises or disasters along with changes in simulation exercises and subsequent after-action reviews.
    Date of AwardMay 2011
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Portsmouth
    SupervisorEdward Peter Borodzicz (Supervisor) & Christine Welch (Supervisor)

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