Conflict and crisis management
Departing from theories and concepts from social conflict and group dynamics, research focuses on the management of safety-related conflict and crisis incidents. Research is directed at the actual interactions between the authorities and civilians, and includes for example hostage incidents, interrogation situations, as well as the management of escalated situations in problematic neighbourhoods. We also study higher level and often complex, high stake, decision making processes surrounding conflict and crisis incidents, and the effectiveness of different types of third-party intervention in escalated conflict situations (e.g. court-connected or community mediation). Another challenge for future research is to examine the need for and effectiveness of specific leadership and facilitative interventions in conflict and crisis situations.
Risk perception and communication
The focus here is on the public's risk perception, acceptance, behaviour and information preferences with respect to both new and existing 'man-made' and natural risks. Research may for example focus on determinants of public acceptance of new technologies, or on the stimulation of self-protective behaviour. Building on theories and concepts from social psychology and communication science, this theme aims at generating fundamental insights into human behaviour in social processes and responses to risk and safety settings, ranging from the societal to the group or individual level. This can be used to develop risk communication which is adequate from the perspective of all risk stakeholders. Another challenge for future research is to examine how to foster citizen's risk awareness and social resilience without creating overreactions or conflicts.
Context of crime, disorder and risky behaviour
Within this research line the focus is on factors that may set anti-social and/or risky behaviour of individuals and groups in motion. Such behaviour usually comes with high costs: victims may suffer personally, it may affect the functioning of groups and organizations, and it may generally disrupt our society. In line with recent research pointing at the importance of situational factors and contextual dynamics, research projects study criminal incidents, instead of the offender, and look at proximal causes of criminal behaviour, such as the physical environment, mobility, and traffic. Other studies in this research line focus on organizational settings with abusive leadership and employee deviance.