International expertise and local know-how in the trading zone
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2012

The management of risk and crises is increasingly seen as a matter of mobilizing formal, rational and calculative systems. Still, the capacity to understand and evaluate the social context within which risk and crises are embedded is of great importance. Examining the case of the outbreak of Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Angola in 2004—2005, the concept of trading zone is proposed as a mechanism bridging international expertise (in this case, that of the medical experts of the World Health Organization) and the local actors’ (Angolan health care workers, elders, etc.) understandings of the needs and demands of the community. Recognizing that risks are by definition impossible to fully anticipate, management practice, as part of organizing should emphasize not only rational systems for monitoring and controlling risk and crises, but also the value of including trading zones and a metacode as a pidgin that facilitates collaboration between heterogeneous groups in such zones, each understanding their reality based on local, cultural codes.

Professional organizations

Crisis management


Health care


Trading zone


Andreas Diedrich

Göteborgs universitet

Alexander Styhre

Göteborgs universitet

Scandinavian Journal of Management

0956-5221 (ISSN)

Vol. 28 4 340-351





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