Kruskal-Wallis: Independent and Dependent Variables

Introduction

Kruskal-Wallis test is a non-parametric statistical method of analysis that compares the means of more than two groups of independent variables. This paper reports and interprets the significant Kruskal-Wallis findings between 5 incident command systems, 7 CD departments, academic qualification and job position. A total of 42 factors are examined, recommendations are also made based on the reported findings.

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The Kruskal-Wallis Test Interpretation Between the 5 Incident Command Systems, 42 Factors and 7 CD Departments

Interpretation of Pairwise Comparison Tests

There was a significant difference between implementation factors and CD departments concerning factor 3 (avoid unauthorised intervention in command). This observation emphasised the importance of synchronised operations in emergencies. A major incident can be described as one whose locality, the severity of injury and living casualties warrant extraordinary resources (Lowes & Cosgrove, 2016). Once a major incident has been declared, there is a need to execute a multi-service, organised rejoinder that is founded on the key tenets of authority, regulation, wellbeing and communication. The three well-known levels of command are Bronze, Silver and Gold. In emergency happenings involving the coordination of rescue operations, police officers need to coordinate with hospitals in a process that entails triage, treatment and transportation. Triage is the process of deciding the urgency of injuries to prioritise treatment (Johnson & Alhaj-Ali, 2017). This process is often plagued with excess deliberations that can delay the provision of emergency medical assistance. Another notable problem arises during communication, which is usually hampered by the fear of making unauthorised interventions. However, there was no significant difference between the CD departments in the pairwise comparison. This observation meant that various CD departments had varying levels of perceptions regarding this factor.

The significant difference between factor 5 (rigorous regulations of GSB) of organisational factors versus the CD departments meant that the CD departments emphasized the GSB system by setting up a comprehensible disaster response approach. This decision is usually informed by unrelenting natural calamities, intentional threats, epidemics and human suffering due to conflict situations that demand rapid and efficient response standards. In the recent past, it has become apparent that efforts to address disasters require a logical disaster response method and organisational arrangements that are based on combining efforts across various organisations. In the study conducted by Khorram-Manesh et al. (2015), the lack of standardisation was frequently underscored as a serious shortcoming in existing disaster training methods. Other obvious problems included communication breakdown and disparities in the control and command levels. Furthermore, the significant pairwise comparison between CD1 and CD6 implied that the two departments differed in their regulation of the GSB incident command.

The significant difference between item 7 of individual factors (situational awareness during incident response) underscored the value of this attribute in manmade or natural disasters. Situational awareness is delineated as the act of perceiving elements within the surroundings in the context of space and time, understanding their meaning and envisaging their status in the future. Situational awareness in incident operations is usually directed by specific goals. Therefore, each participant strives to obtain relevant information to achieve these goals. Furthermore, disaster rejoinder procedures need rapid, synchronised activities that are founded on accurate facts about the situation. Effective responses are crucial in the light of tumultuous circumstances to minimise efforts that would be needed to quell the situation if things were allowed to escalate. Therefore, incident responders can become proactive if they are furnished with the right information within the shortest time possible. Additionally, the quality of the information provided should match the expected disaster response since inadequate or wrong information can hinder rescue operations and result in injuries or destruction of property. Some of the common challenges encountered when developing situational awareness include information sharing and harmonisation (Seppänen & Virrantaus, 2015).

The significant pairwise comparison between CD1 and CD5 meant that the level of situational awareness differed between the two departments. This disparity could be attributed to the factors that affect situational awareness, for example, system design, stress and workload, automation, preconceptions and dexterities. System design refers to the ergonomics of a system, which includes the layout and ease of use of data. Data should be presented in a user-friendly way to make it easy for the user to access relevant information and enhance situational awareness. A stressed individual takes a longer time to process information than someone with a relaxed state of mind. Large workloads often augment stress levels, which has adverse effects on situational awareness.

Automation is a useful process that helps to avoid mental overload when heavy workloads are present. However, it is important to be actively involved in monitoring automated systems. The fact that some processes are automated does not mean that one should sit back and do nothing. It is necessary to check controls to ensure that everything runs normally.

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Physiological factors that can get in the way of information processing include physical ailments and medications. As a result, situational awareness can be affected negatively. Therefore, incident commanders should monitor their health as well as that of their teams.

As much as it is important to envisage future happenings in situational awareness, presumptions can have a negative effect if responders try to align the available information with preconceived ideas. This habit blocks one’s ability to observe the actual events and act accordingly. In the absence of situational awareness, wrong and possibly detrimental actions may be performed.

Obtaining adequate training on a given procedure increases the probability of doing the right thing when faced with a similar situation in a real-life scenario. The efficiency of responses also increases with the currency of a person’s training due to prior knowledge of the situation and anticipation of the next event. For these reasons, training endeavours need to reiterate exercises involving critical responses.

Four barrier factors showed a significant difference in various CD departments. They included factor 2 (lack of commander’s qualifications), factor 4 (overlaps and conflicts in command views), factor 6 (lack and loss of expertise due to resignations, retirements or transfer) and factor 7 (lack of coordination and information sharing between commanders). Several explanations can account for these observations, which are indications of the most common impediments that CD departments face. For example, commanders play a crucial function in the handling of tragedies because they must direct and manage responses. Therefore, they should have the appropriate qualifications to lead the entire incidence command team. An empirical study involving the observation of police officers before a terrorist attack in Norway led to the realisation that officers’ reaction to and management of the attack did not match the expectations (Sommer, Njå & Lussand, 2017). This observation was linked to the fact that learning undertakings in the police force mainly focused on day-to-day activities and usual crises but did not prepare officers and commanders to handle new, big tragedies, for example, terrorist attacks.

Overlaps and conflicts in command views often delay decision making and reduce the efficiency of responders. Direction and coordination in a disaster response context are crucial elements to the attainment of direction and synchronisation of existing resources to satisfy various needs during the critical phase of a disaster (Bergström, Uhr & Frykmer, 2016). Therefore, if a commander is incapable of making these two decisions due to overlaps or conflicts in their point of view, inefficiencies are bound to happen. Most incident commands have few commanders with adequate training because of the lack or loss of expertise due to resignations, retirements or transfers. These occurrences usually leave gaps that should be addressed. The pairwise comparisons showed that the three departments where this problem was rampant were CD1, CD6 and CD7.

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The lack of coordination and information sharing between commanders is a substantial barrier that affects many incident commands globally. Going by news headlines in recent times, the incidence and relentlessness of disasters are increasing progressively. Therefore, successful coordination by leaders of security organisations is important to guarantee the provision of vital life-saving and life-supporting abilities to victims of tragic incidents. However, coordination amid several levels of government and agencies in the public (or private) sectors is complicated by uncertainty, disorder and urgency that characterise emergencies (Pierce, 2017). Coordination can be described as assimilating various distinct events into a cohesive arrangement. Several studies focusing on coordination theories have been done to tackle this problem. Nevertheless, coordination is epitomised by accentuating integration to obtain a unified, rational and combined set of actions. Even with these precautions, attaining amalgamation in the middle of the mix-up and mayhem that typify most emergencies remains a challenge. Wolbers, Boersma and Groenewegen (2018) proposed a fragmentation perspective to direct coordination in the management of crises. Through a qualitative study involving 40 different emergency management endeavours in the Netherlands, it was noted that incident commanders and other officers applied three main strategies to handle disjointedness and uncertainty during a crisis: working around protocols, handing over duties and segregating skills. Through these practices, fragmentation becomes an effective tool in achieving coordination. However, the pairwise comparison between the different departments showed a significant difference between CD2 and CD7. This observation suggested that each CD department experienced a different set of problems, which affected the overall meaning during pairwise comparison of departments.

Two driver factors showed a significant difference in the various CD departments, including factor 4 (coordination and information sharing was transmitted easily between commanders’ levels) and factor 9 (GSB successfully achieved its goals and benefits). Research proves that the dissemination of data is simplified by awareness, having a shared comprehension of issues, application of vocabulary and semantic meaning. However, in extreme settings such as during calamities, it may not be possible to develop these factors because the involved parties may come from diverse environments and may have very little experience working together. Waring et al. (2018) reported that inter-team information sharing was held up by constrained situation awareness and poor communication. In their study, the authors noted that in multiplex environments that had limited time, having a joint comprehension of obligations and information needs was necessary to cut down on unneeded deliberations, which ultimately augmented applicability and speed.

The significant pairwise comparison in CD2-CD5 and CD3-CD5 for factor 4 showed that three departments (CD2, CD3 and CD5) had effective coordination and information sharing structures that other departments could emulate. When an incident command team attains organisation goal successfully, team members are motivated to work harder as observed in the significance of factor 9. The pairwise comparison between CD6 and CD5 showed that the impact of this driver factor was evident in these two departments.

Recommendations for Solutions

  • To address delays or inefficiencies that are related to factor 3 (avoiding unauthorised intervention in command), a set of priorities should be designed to enhance efficiency during responses to major incidents. A proposed system is the Major Incident Medical Management and Support (MIMMS) system, which has been implemented in the UK (Lowes & Cosgrove 2016).
  • An amalgamated and competency-based teaching style that makes use of a blend of exercises and lectures can be used to enhance intercultural and interdisciplinary assimilation.
  • Disaster management courses should be standardised to encourage intercultural and inter-agency performance in all phases of the disaster management cycle.
  • A specified set of standards and evaluation measures can be attained via unanimity, instruction and training in various units. The use of scenario-based training should be emphasised to present realistic situations (Khorram-Manesh et al. 2015).
  • Incident commanders and their teams need to make deliberate efforts to manage stress levels on a short-term and long-term basis.
  • Incident commanders and response teams should understand the context of events and envisage likely occurrences to respond successfully to a disaster. This feat can be attained by enhancing the quality of information frameworks to support the access, development and dissemination of information.
  • Critical information should be defined in a way that considers the diverse modes of communication and different types of information. Furthermore, the information quality facet should be able to support a wide range of information, including geographic facts, which are crucial in disaster management.
  • Additional investigations are needed to determine the precise differences in the commander qualifications in CD2 and CD7 where significant differences were observed.
  • There is a need to ensure adequate expertise in CD1, CD6 and CD7 by recruiting more personnel to replace specialists who have left these stations.
  • Available staff members should be prepared to reach the level of training that is expected of incident commanders.
  • A fragmentation approach to coordination should be attempted to solve the issue of lack of synchronisation between commanders.
  • Police departments with low levels of coordination and information sharing should strive to emulate other departments that performed well concerning these attributes.
  • The police departments should adopt behaviours that encourage common structures to understand inter-team capabilities and information needs. This process enhances information dissemination and can reduce the efforts required for information processing.

The Kruskal-Wallis Test Interpretation Between the 5 Incident Command Systems, 42 Factors and 5 Academic Qualifications

Descriptive Statistics

There was a significant difference between implementation factors (dependent factor) and academic qualification (independent factor). The null hypothesis was rejected for factor 6 (better communication and coordination across commanders’ levels) of implementation domain and academic qualification (p=0.014). In the pairwise comparison, a significant difference was noted between higher diploma and high school education (p=0.014).

There was a significant difference between the two levels of organisational factors (dependent factor) and academic qualification (independent factor). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. The first one is factor 1 (commanders’ nomination is based on job position, ranks and experiences) with a p-value of 0.009, whereas the second is factor 3 (training and ‎exercising at ‎different levels ‎of command) with a p-value of 0.011. In the pairwise comparison, a significant difference was noted between bachelor and high school for factor 1 (p=0.012). Conversely, a difference was noted between higher diploma and bachelors (p=0.048) as well as higher diploma and diploma (p=0.003) for factor 3.

There was no significant difference between any levels of individual factors (dependent factor) and academic qualification (independent factor). Therefore, the null hypothesis was not rejected for any factor. However, a significant difference was seen between two levels of barrier factors (dependent factor) and academic qualification (independent factor). Thus, the null hypothesis was rejected. The first one is factor 7 (lack of coordination and information sharing between commanders) with a p-value of 0.018 while the second is factor 10 (incident command system is new) at p= 0.001. In the pairwise comparison, no significant difference was noted for factor 7. Nonetheless, the pairwise comparison for factor 10 showed a significant difference between higher diploma (mean ranks 40.71) and bachelor (mean ranks 77.98) at p= 0.009 as well as between higher diploma and high school (mean ranks 91.96) at p= 0.000.

There was a significant difference between two levels of driver factors (dependent factor) and academic qualification (independent factor). Therefore, the null hypothesis was rejected. The first one is factor 5 (incident ‎command system ‎facilitates ‎incident ‎management and ‎categorisation) at p= 0.015, whereas the second one is factor 7 (clearly defines better decision making) at a significance of p= 0.030. In the pairwise comparison, the null hypothesis was rejected for factor 5 between higher diploma (mean ranks 46.09) and bachelor (mean ranks 77.94) at p= ‎0.029 and between higher diploma (mean ranks 46.09) and high school (mean ranks 84.71) at p= 0.009. Similarly, the pairwise comparison of factor 7 showed that the null hypothesis was rejected at p= 0‎.031 between higher diploma (mean ranks 48.12) and high school (mean ranks 84.29)

Interpretation of Pairwise Comparison Tests

The significant difference between factor 6 (better communication and coordination across commanders’ levels) of the implementation domain and academic qualification can be explained by the impact of education on communication skills. Technical systems that place a lot of emphasis on safety require efficient communication and harmonisation of their operations. As a result, many fatal accidents in such areas are usually attributed to communication breakdown (Knox et al. 2018). Advanced training exposes respondents to various examples of emergency scenarios through simulations (Davies 2015), which is conspicuously absent in conventional high school education. Therefore, it is expected that an individual with an advanced level of training will be better placed to coordinate rescue operations and communicate effectively to team members. In the pairwise comparison, the significant difference noted between higher diploma and high school education was attributed to the knowledge gap that was bridged by attaining a higher diploma as opposed to having a high school education. This observation implies that being educated to a higher diploma level enhances an individual’s communication and synchronisation skills thus making them more efficient leaders or commanders.

The significant difference between the first level of organisational factor 1 (commanders’ nomination is based on job position, ranks and experiences) and academic qualification can be explained by the relationship between education level and leadership skills. Leadership has advanced because of alterations in demographics, economic progress, know-how and work procedures. Studies have been done to show the impact of leadership on organisational functioning, the effect of different leadership approaches on organisational culture, the efficiency of employees, retention, enthusiasm and satisfaction in institutions (Alonderiene & Majauskaite 2016). Incident command systems are tasked with dynamic risk assessment. Therefore, the training of commanders in high-risk domains often encompasses this attribute. In a study conducted by Okoli et al. (2016), the problem strategies used by 16 firefighters were compared using the critical decision method. It was observed that dynamic risk assessment was not just a matter of weighing the possible risk of a certain decision against its benefits. Other crucial factors came into play, for example, the level of education of the firefighter, their experience and pattern recognition process. Furthermore, individuals tended to advance in ranks based on their level of education and work experience. Therefore, the observed phenomenon corroborated what is common in many other settings.

In the pairwise comparison, the difference between a bachelor and high school for factor 1 can be explained by the large educational gap between high school and a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s degree graduate is more likely to be appointed to a commander’s position than a high school graduate because the former has undergone rigorous training in various aspects of management, leadership and decision making. On the other hand, the observed difference between a higher diploma and a bachelor education showed that a bachelor’s degree was superior to a higher diploma. Similarly, the difference between a higher diploma and a diploma indicated that the former was superior to the latter. Overall, the pairwise comparisons indicate that as an individual advance from one level of education to another (from high school to diploma, diploma to higher diploma and higher diploma to bachelor’s), their knowledge levels and leadership proficiencies increase significantly, thereby making them suitable candidates for nomination to commander positions.

The significance between factor 3 (training and ‎exercising at ‎different levels ‎of command) and education level is corroborated by the findings of Mossel et al. (2017). Effective training in incident command entails simulating potential disasters and empowering each member of the incident command to respond appropriately. In a study involving virtual reality training systems for disaster preparedness, about 45 soldiers were asked to simulate various scenarios (Mossel et al. 2017). Members of each command level were expected to complete specific tasks to solve the key mission task. Such an approach made it possible to target decision makers at different levels of command.

The significant difference that was seen between barrier factor 7 (lack of coordination and information sharing between commanders) and level of education was a common phenomenon in all incident command systems. Coordination and information sharing are prevalent problems at various organisation levels. This observation meant that the level of education did not alter this barrier in any way, signifying that coordination issues cut across people of all levels of education.

The significant difference observed between barrier factor 10 (incident command system is new) and level of education could be explained by the influence of educational training on one’s perception of incident command. Higher levels of training expose an individual to different settings thus cultivating open-mindedness and flexibility (Taylor 2017). Consequently, such an individual can easily adapt to various situations within a short time and act appropriately. Furthermore, unexpected events always threaten human communities, which emphasises the need for preparedness. In the same way, commanders are unfamiliar with new incident command systems and tend to see it as a barrier, especially if new procedures are involved. In the pairwise comparison, the significant differences for factor 10 between higher diploma and bachelor as well as between higher diploma and high school were due to the perceived education gaps between the different levels of education.

The significant difference between driver factor 5 (incident ‎command system ‎facilitates ‎incident ‎management and ‎categorisation) and academic qualification could be linked to the key goal of the development of incident command systems. Conventionally, an incident command system is a harmonised method to the direct, control and synchronisation of emergency responses by availing a common chain of command that responders must follow to achieve effectiveness. It has been developed into the National Incident Management System, which has been adopted in various hazard situations, including shootings, fires, terrorist attacks and hazardous materials. Consequently, people with proper education qualifications are charged with the responsibility of managing disasters. For this reason, academic qualifications play a big role in determining incident management tasks that are assigned to commanders.

In the pairwise comparison for factor 5, the observed difference between higher diploma and bachelor as well as higher diploma and high school was because of the specificity of tasks that could be assigned to an incident commander. FEMA provides guidelines that should be considered when recruiting incident commanders based on ICS or IS standards (FEMA 2017). These guidelines consider the education of the prospective candidate.

On the other hand, the observed difference between factor 7 (clearly defines better decision making) and academic qualification is a direct reflection of the impact of education and training on decision making. Certain situations such as the management of natural or artificial catastrophes warrant hasty decision making, which may be done under pressure such as time constraints. Nonetheless, managers should deliberate thoroughly before making these decisions because they could have irreversible consequences or affect a series of future occurrences. Therefore, decision-making is rarely a straightforward act of selecting one choice from a list of available solutions. When managing a crisis, decisions are informed by reasoning and intuition. Furthermore, a range of facts, data and experience may also be required to inform decision making. These qualities can be enhanced through training in settings that permit regular decision-making without dire consequences if the decisions are wrong. Through academic training, candidates can develop good decision-making skills by attending lectures and learning theoretical models. However, hands-on training in a situation that closely mimics a real-life scenario is also recommended to augment decision-making dexterities (Khorram-Manesh, Berlin, & Carlström 2016). The noted difference in the pairwise comparison of factor 7 between higher diploma and high school could be because of the knowledge gap between these two levels of education.

Recommendation for Solutions

  • The level of education should be considered when appointing incident commanders. A higher diploma can be set as the minimum education requirement for higher ranks in the incident command system.
  • There should be increased training to improve the knowledge levels of incident commanders to make them suitable candidates for nomination to different commander positions.
  • More officers should be encouraged to pursue education and attain a bachelor’s degree.
  • All incident commands should consider implementing policies that enhance the dissemination of information and harmonisation regardless of the level of education of the commanders.
  • Apart from formal education, additional hands-on training may be needed to enhance the decision-making skills of incident commanders.

The Kruskal-Wallis Test Interpretation Between The 5 Incident Command Systems, 42 Factors and 7 Job Positions

Descriptive Statistics

There was no significant difference between implementation factors and job positions. Therefore, the null hypotheses were not rejected. There were two significant levels between organisational factors (dependent factor) and job position (independent factor). The first one was factor 5 (rigorous regulations of incident command system) at a p-value of 0.041, whereas the second level was factor 6 (systematically grading level of commanders) at a p-value of 0.033. The null hypothesis was rejected for factor 5 in the pairwise comparison due to disparities between the section manager (mean ranks 57.77) and station manager (mean ranks 92.42) at a p-value of 0.040. Even though there was a significant p-value of 0.033 in factor 6, the pairwise comparison showed that there was no significant level between manager sections.

There was no significant difference between individual factors and job positions. Consequently, no null hypothesis was rejected. A significant difference was observed between barrier factor 9 (Gold commander presence in operation sector that may create conflict and confusion) and job position at p= 0.041. Thus, the null hypothesis was rejected. However, the pairwise comparison showed that there was no significant p-value level between managers’ levels.

In the driver factors dimension, the null hypothesis was rejected for factor 4 (coordination and ‎information sharing ‎was ‎transmitted easily ‎between ‎commanders’ levels), which was significant at p= 0‎.023‎. Pairwise comparison showed that there was a significant difference between shift chief (mean ranks 84.75) and duty officer (mean ranks 50.44) at p= 0.048.

Interpretation of Results

The significant difference between organisational factor 5 (rigorous regulations of incident command system) and job position could be linked to the conventional organisational structure of the incident command system. The GBS system has three ranks: Gold (strategic), Silver (tactical) and Bronze (operational). In a police department, these three levels correspond to different job positions. Employees at each level are aware of their duties and responsibilities as well as the chain of command that determines who they report to. This natural status quo explains why there was a significant relationship between factor 5 and job position. In the pairwise comparison for factor 5, the observed difference between the section manager and station manager was due to the lack of a clear distinction of roles between the job positions.

On the other hand, the observed significance between factor 6 (systematically grading level of commanders) and job position was attributed to the duties and responsibilities of incident commanders in a GBS system. The Gold commanders are in control of their organisations’ resources. They are not on site but are located at distant control rooms where they devise strategies for handling the pending incident. In cases where Gold Commanders are in different places, they ensure continuity of information through constant communication with each other. These commanders also meet at regular intervals to discuss and put together policies and operating procedures. During these meetings, they also strategise how they will coordinate their activities. In the scenario under investigation, this position can be likened to the branch, station and section managers. On the other hand, the Silver commander is the highest-ranking member of the institution at the scene of an incident. This officer is responsible for the utilisation of available resources to attain the strategic goals of the Gold commander. They also make decisions regarding specific approaches to be employed. The Silver commander is equivalent to the duty officer and shift chief. The Bronze commander works directly with the Silver leaders of other groups at the scene of the incident. Their operations occur in specific command vehicles or temporary command chambers. However, they do not handle the incident directly but manage the institution’s resources at the scene in conjunction with other staff members who may be present. In instances where an incident is spread over a big physical area or different geographical locations, several Bronze commanders can take charge of different areas. Complicated incidents may compel several Bronze commanders to share duties or obligations. In the first phases of an incident, the first person to reach the site takes up the functions of Silver or Bronze commander while waiting to be released by someone with a more senior position. This position can be assumed by the firefighter.

The observed significant difference for barrier factor 9 (Gold commander presence in operation sector may create conflict and confusion) and job position was because of the ascribed roles of each incident command officer. As explained before, the Gold commander takes overall charge of the organisation’s wherewithal remotely in a small room. Here, they also communicate distantly with the Silver and Bronze commanders who are present on site. Police departments all over the world develop their chains of command such that there are numerous similarities to the military. As an officer advances in rank, they take on additional duties and responsibilities, which makes for more well-organised procedures. Upholding a chain of command also ensures that there is discipline to avoid disastrous events such as injuries and casualties. Members of lower ranks are accustomed to respecting their superiors. Consequently, some duties and responsibilities are only meant for officers in lower ranks. The presence of a Gold commander at the site of an incident may bring confusion because the junior officers may conflict whether to proceed with the rescue operations or pay attention to their superior.

In the driver factors dimension, the significant difference between factor 4 (coordination and ‎information sharing ‎was ‎transmitted easily ‎between ‎commanders’ level) and job positions were also linked to the pre-established chain of command. Junior employees are socialised to obey orders from their superiors. Such a culture enhances the flow of information from the topmost to lowest levels thus improving the overall efficiency. On the other hand, the substantial difference in the pairwise comparison between shift chief and duty officer was because of a lack of clarity regarding the differences between these two positions.

Recommendation for Solutions

There should be a clear distinction of roles among various job positions, particularly between the section manager and station manager as well as between shift chief and duty officer.

Conclusion

The incident command system is a crucial but complex organisation that is charged with managing disasters. This paper shows that the efficiency of an incident command system is influenced by many factors. Implementing the proposed solutions will improve the operations of incident command systems.

Reference List

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