“Here is the essential book for managers who want to anticipate and adapt to surprises. Weick and Sutcliffe present a set of challenging ideas in a way that is clear and compelling, and then turn these critical insights into practical guidelines that have broad application and relevance.”—Gary Klein, Applied Research Associates and author, Sources of Power
“Of course there is 'nothing new under the sun'—but Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe come as close as is humanly imaginable in this latest version of Managing the Unexpected. No issue is more timely (alas), and there may be no approach that is more original and thoughtful and useful and data-rich than what you'll find between the covers of this book.”—Tom Peters, author, In Search of Excellence
“For those managing or studying organizations like nuclear power plants and aircraft carrier flight decks, Weick and Sutcliffe's original edition was a godsend, providing a new language and conceptual structure for understanding why some of these organizations perform so much better than others—and helping those who manage in less extreme environments gain to boost their own performance. This latest edition includes valuable new examples and an expanded treatment of the critical concepts of anticipation and containment—and it is filled with useful advice about how to achieve high performance in any setting.”
—Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard, George F. Baker, Jr., Professor of Public Management, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
From the Inside Flap
Since the first edition of Managing the Unexpected was published in 2001, the unexpected has become a growing part of our everyday lives. The unexpected is often dramatic, as with hurricanes or terrorist attacks. But the unexpected can also come in more subtle forms, such as a small organizational lapse that leads to a major blunder, or an unexamined assumption that costs lives in a crisis. Why are some organizations better able than others to maintain function and structure in the face of unanticipated change?
Authors Karl E. Weick and Kathleen M. Sutcliffe answer this question by pointing to high reliability organizations (HROs), such as emergency rooms in hospitals, flight operations of aircraft carriers, and firefighting units, as models to follow. These organizations have developed ways of acting and styles of learning that enable them to manage the unexpected better than other organizations. Thoroughly revised and updated, the second edition of the groundbreaking book Managing the Unexpected uses HROs as a template for any institution that wants to better organize for high reliability.
The authors reveal how HROs create a collective state of mindfulness that produces an enhanced ability to discover and correct errors before they escalate into a crisis. A mindful infrastructure continually
- Tracks small failures
- Resists oversimplification
- Is sensitive to operations
- Maintains capabilities for resilience
- Takes advantage of shifting locations of expertise
Through a discussion of the principle of mindfulness and the practices that can be used to apply it, the authors show how to anticipate and respond to threats with flexibility rather than rigidity. Their practical, solutions-oriented approach includes numerous case studies demonstrating mindful practices and enables readers to assess and implement mindfulness in their own organizations.
Managing the Unexpected is a guide for learning the hard-won lessons of high reliability organizations that are able to manage unexpected threats and bounce back in a stronger position to tackle future challenges.