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Duration: 2017-2021

Funding: Arbeitsgruppe Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)

Contact: Dr. Marén Schorch, Diplom-Medienwirt Sascha Skudelny (M.A.)

Focus Civil Society

The junior research group KONTIKAT is funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education and is part of the Ministry‘s program for „Civil Security Research“. The research group not only deals with the investigation of conditions for maintaining continuity in everyday life, but also in respect of crisis and disaster, (1) in the civil society and, (2) in the domain of small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In doing so, we concentrate our investigations on regional studies, focusing on the city of Siegen and on the district of Siegen-Wittgenstein. The cynosure of our investigations is primarily on the aspects of individual and organizational concepts of continuity and normality, crisis, resilience and emergency preparedness. Accordingly, we try to answer our research questions with the help of our ongoing empirical studies (qualitative interviews and a large social survey about emergency preparedness), that ask about former experiences of the people with crisis in the region (such as longer failure of telecommunication and severe winter storms), if and what effects such experiences have had on their lives. We further explore on how do they keep themselves updated about recent crisis, and also their actual emergency preparation with stocking of food, water, emergency power etc. in order to be better prepared for future (prospective) disruptions.

Focus Business (SME)

With zooming on to small and medium enterprises (SME), we address a part of the civil society in Germany that was mostly rather disregarded in civil security research up till now. Predominantly, the majority of German economic sector is comprised of small and medium enterprises, having a maximum number of 249 employees, and an annual turnover of max. 50 million Euro, as per the stats of European Commission. In the regional district of Siegen-Wittgenstein, there is a huge number of very successful SMEs that operate nationally and globally. They are intertwined in complex (local, national and global) networks of supply, production and sales market and are concerned with the demands of increasing digitalization. Together with the actors from SMEs, we analyse their recent challenges, their existing concepts for maintaining business continuity and how to be better prepared in times of crisis such as the blackout of critical infrastructure (power, IT), cyber-attacks etc.. Furthermore, based on the results of our qualitative and quantitative empirical studies, we also aim at the development of socio-technical support for the specific requirements of small and medium enterprises.

Research and Education

The junior research group KONTIKAT“ is funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education (BMBF, 2017-2021) and focusses on the investigation of „civil and business continuity by the means of socio-technical networking in crisis“. The group is one of the five groups in the BMBF funding program under „Civil Security – Promoting young researchers and their interdisciplinary competencies“. In KONTIKAT, we are researchers from the fields of sociology, computer science (CSCW and socio-informatics), media science, economics (management, SME, applied statistics) as well as applied linguistics. All members work on their respective thesis (PhD or habilitation). The shared research goal is the identification of the existing insights of continuity in everyday life, but also in times of crisis – dealing with the civil society in general, but small and medium sized enterprises (SME) in particular. Due to the diversity, but also the complexity of our research topics and fields, we use quite a broad range of empirical methods: qualitative field studies, representative, quantitative surveys, social media and social network analysis, participative concept development, the design of socio-technical prototypes and their long-term evaluation in the practical field. Generally, we aim at supporting self organisation, networking, assistance and communication in order to be better prepared in case a crisis strikes.

Further Information  www.kontikat.de


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