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Investigating Communication and Warning Channels to Enhance Crowd Management Strategies: a Study of Hajj Pilgrims in Saudi Arabia

Description: The global increase in the number of mass gatherings and crowded events has brought with it new emergencies and unintended consequences for public administrators and first responders. Crowd managers attempt to overcome these challenges by enhancing operations, alleviating financial losses, keeping event organizers safe from liability and, most importantly, keeping the attendees safe. Effective communication among and between officials and guests has been identified as a key element in this process. However, there is a lack of risk communication studies, especially about heterogeneous crowds that congregate at religious events. With this gap in mind, this research aims to investigate the use of major communication channels available and/or preferred by Muslim pilgrims in Makkah, Saudi Arabia during Hajj to gauge their effectiveness in communicating risk information. This annual religious pilgrimage was chosen because it attracts over 2 million pilgrims from more than 140 countries, most of whom speak different languages and belong to different cultures but perform the same rituals at the same time. This dissertation seeks to answer three broad research questions: “what are the most popular communication channels used by pilgrims,” “what are the weaknesses of the current communication strategies,” and “what can be done to improve risk communication among pilgrims, and between pilgrims and authorities to enhance crowd control and crowd management strategies.” The protective action decision model (PADM) is used as the theoretical framework to understand the influence of six factors (environmental cues, social cues, information sources, channel access and preferences, warning messages, and receiver characteristics) on risk communication. In collaboration with the Transportation and Crowd Management Center of Research Excellence (TCMCORE) of Saudi Arabia, a convenience sampling strategy was employed to interview 348 pilgrims in the Prophet’s Mosque area, during the Hajj of 2013. The surveys were conducted in Arabic and English and included pilgrims from ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Taibah, Hassan

Organizational Learning Capacity As a Predictor of Individuals’ Tendency Towards Improvisation in Nonprofit Organizations in Saudi Arabia

Description: The study is undertaken for a more compressive understanding for organizational theory and its applicability to tendency towards improvisation during emergency times among individuals in Non Profit Organizations (NPOs) in Saudi Arabia. The analysis involved an examination of direct effect of learning on tendency towards improvisation and possible mediating effects between organizational learning and tendency towards improvisation among individuals in NPOs, while controlling for key demographic differences (e.g. individuals’ age, education level and years in service, number of full-time staff and volunteers). Self-administered questionnaires were distributed to full-time employees in 13 NPOs in three cities in the western area of Saudi Arabia, namely Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah (N= 304). The main statistical method employed to hypotheses examination was Structural Equation Modeling. The hypothesis examination resulted in three out of five hypnotized paths are to be significant. Two direct relations were interpreted as outcomes of organizational learning, with increases in the level of organizational learning is being positively related to individuals’ self –efficacy and agility. The third significant path interpreted as individuals’ agility is positively related to their tendency to improvise during emergency times, which indicates organizational learning has indirect effect on tendency towards improvisation. Finally, the applicability of organizational learning theory to the field of emergency management and suggestions for future research in light of the findings of this research are also discussed.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Alhumaid, Saleh Mohammad

The Use of Social Media in Informal Scientific Communication Among Scholars: Modeling the Modern Invisible College

Description: The concept of the invisible college is a key focus of scientific communication research with many studies on this topic in the literature. However, while such studies have contributed to an understanding of the invisible college, they have not adequately explained the interaction of social and structural processes in this phenomenon. As a consequence, past research has described the invisible college differently based on researchers’ perspectives, resulting in misinterpretations or inconsistent definitions of the relevant social and structural processes. Information science and related disciplines have focused on the structural processes that lead to scholarly products or works while placing less emphasis on the social processes. To advance understanding of the invisible college and its dimensions (including both social processes and structural processes), a proposed model (Modern Invisible College Model, MICM) has been built based on the history of the invisible college and Lievrouw’s (1989) distinction between social and structural processes. The present study focuses on the social processes of informal communication between scholars via social media, rather than on the structural processes that lead to scholarly products or works. A developed survey and an employed quantitative research method were applied for data collection. The research population involved 77 scholars from the Institute of Public Administration (IPA), in Saudi Arabia. Descriptive statistics, frequency and percentage were conducted for each statement. Means and standard deviations were calculated. The results indicate that the majority of participants heavily use social media for scientific communication purposes. Also, the results confirm that scholars consider social media to be an effective and appropriate tool for scientific communication. Seven factors were found in the findings to have positive correlations with uses and gratifications theory and the use of social media. This research contributes to and benefits scholars, reference groups (i.e., the invisible college itself), and institutions, and provides ...
Date: May 2014
Creator: Algarni, Mohammed Ayedh