Preparing for the Unknown Crisis - A Case Study on Norway’s Pandemic Preparedness before the SARS-CoV-2 Pandemic Outbreak
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- Master theses 
The aim of this master thesis is to answer the following research question, ‘how have previous large-scale pandemic or epidemic outbreaks contributed to shaping the current crisis management and pandemic preparedness plans in Norway?’ In order to answer this question, a qualitative approach have been utilised in order to carry out a result-explanatory process-tracing case study. Both political sources – such as white papers, NOUs, and government reports – and other publicly available sources – such as websites, historical and academic research and publications, news articles, or articles published by independent organisations and actors – are used in this thesis. The theoretical framework is built on path dependency, crisis typologies, and crisis management perspectives, which informs how the preparedness plans were created, and the events that partook in shaping the content of the plans. The timeframe for this thesis is mainly between 2000 and 2019, but documents prior to this have also been included in order to demonstrate the path dependence. Three preparedness plans and two strategies are analysed in the empiric chapter, in order to analyse the overall pandemic preparedness. These documents were selected based on their importance in the framework of crisis management in the health and care sector of Norway. The Norwegian crisis management is based on four contextual principles – the principle of liability, the principle of proximity, the principle of conformity, and the principle of collaboration – that are being utilised in all areas and sectors in the Norwegian preparedness. The first three principles are based on the findings from the 1999 “Willoch Committee”, and the last principle came after the 2011 terrorist attack in Norway. However, some of these principles have been present in the Norwegian management strategies since the introduction of the Public Health Act of 1860, and have been a central part of the Norwegian ideal of egalitarianism, local government, and focus on de-centralisation. The main findings of this thesis indicate that, previous pandemic events such as the 1918/19 H1N1 pandemic, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic and the Ebola patient in 2014 have influenced the pandemic preparedness management strategies. Additionally, it finds that it is not only previous pandemic events that have shaped the pandemic preparedness in Norway, but also other crises, disasters, and complex emergencies, such as the 2004 Sumatra–Andaman earthquake and the 2011 terrorist attack on Norway have created critical junctures and changed the way in which good preparedness is understood.