Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary

Towards Systemic Governance of Critical Infrastructure Protection : State and Relevance of a Swedish Case

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Publication Details

Author list: Große, Christine

Publisher: Mid Sweden University

Place: Sundsvall

Publication year: 2020

Number of pages: 140

ISBN: 978-91-88947-55-0


Abstract

The protection of infrastructure that is critical to society’s functionality, survival and progression has gained significance for both national security and research because of its large-scale and interdependent nature. Critical infrastructure can be viewed as a complex, socio-technical system-of-systems that imposes extensive requirements on governance efforts to foster critical infrastructure protection (CIP), regardless of whether it involves public organisations, private organisations or both.

This dissertation investigates how systemic thinking can develop understandings of CIP and its governance. For this purpose, the dissertation presents research that was conducted in the context of an unexplored Swedish governance approach for CIP against power shortages.The dissertation consists of a three-part thesis and six peer-reviewed publications.

Part?A of this thesis presents the results of a substantial review of scientific literature on the concepts of systems, infrastructure and governance. Because of their recursive nature, the concepts encounter a common challenge in characterising their key elements, structures and processes. The multi-level character of CIP provokes governance to systemically address the behaviours of adaption, emergence and entropy which the complex system exhibits. Apart from contributing nuanced knowledge of systems, infrastructure and governance, Part?A provides a novel frame of reference for research in the area in the form of a kaleidoscope for integrative system analysis – KISA.

Part?B presents the key results of a case study on the Swedish Styrel approach. The investigation is based on an examination of documents that relate to the case, interviews with 66 responsible experts and a survey among all 21 County Administrative Boards and 10 power grid operators that are responsible for stabilising the power grid during disturbances. The contri¬bution of Part?B is threefold. First, it originates an extensive representation of an unexplored case of CIP governance. Second, it offers a new comprehen¬sion of practical challenges in CIP governance due to the complex nature of the system and the entangled processes. Third, it provides empirical evidence that indicates areas for development of CIP governance practices.

Part?C presents the results of the synthesis of theoretical and practical findings. It coalesces perspectives of critical infrastructure and system protection to elaborate on the concept of systemic governance. Fundamentally, systemic governance of CIP integrates the nexus of governance, management and leadership to address challenges regarding key properties of complex systems: entropy, emergence and adaption. Part?C defines the theoretical contribution of this dissertation, namely the concept of systemic governance of CIP.


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