Leadership And Group Formation In High-rise Buidling Evacuations

B. Jones, J. Hewitt
1986 IAFSS - The International Association for Fire Safety Science : proceedings  
This study addresses group formation and leadership during the evacuation of a high-rise office building due to fire. Rather than focussing on the psychological parameters of individual evacuee behaviour, the authors concentrate on the social context and organizational characteristics of the occupancy within which decisions about evacuation strategy, group formation and questions of leadership are made. A distinction is drawn between "emergent" (situational) and "imposed" (authoritative)
more » ... and between the processes of status emergence (achievement of influence) and status maintenance (retention of influence). Both leadership and group formation can be viewed not only in terms of psychological processes but also as the interaction between the normal organizational structure and the roles people assume and play within their group. The transcripts were analyzed on the basis of a number of categories including communication (formal, intragroup and intergroup), fire experience and training, movement through smoke and wayfinding, group formation, and leadership. The method of analysis used in this study draws on a number of sources including Breaux (1976 ), Canter (1980 ) and Sime (1980 . This paper reports on a single issue or category of analysis: leadership and group formation. A more detailed account of the incident is currently in preparation. Sime (1983) takes the position that in order to maX1m1ze an occupant's ability to escape, the building designer must consider the important psychological aspects of people's response to a fire. The authors would go a step further by suggesting that, in addition to the psychological aspects, one
doi:10.3801/iafss.fss.1-513 fatcat:lwgclgh6rrd7rilpftdf42tleq