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Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty Hardcover – August 31, 2007
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“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.
More About the Author
He is one of the leading figures in the American Academy of Management and he is seen by many as one of the most influential thinkers and writers in the field.
Top Customer Reviews
1. Preoccupation with failure - treating any failure (often small ones) as a symptom that something is wrong with the system, a mindful organization is continually updating its understanding.
2. Reluctance to simplify interpretations - ensuring a more complete and nuanced picture, simplifying less and seeing more.
3. Sensitivity to operations - paying attention to relationships at the front line, where the work gets done.
4. Commitment to resilience - maintaining a deep knowledge of the technology, the system, one's coworkers, and one's self as avenues for improvising and keeping the system functioning.
5.Read more ›
I'm interested in questions about new product development. Resilience is an important asset in product development work. Everything in the environment around you changes while you work, plus the designers are constantly learning and discovering things as well. As a project manager, you discover your plan is not working the way you expected. How do you deal with this pace of change?
The 2nd edition of the book reaches further past the safety conscious concerns of the first so it is easier for readers to see how the work applies to resilience and product assurance questions in other work.
I was pleased to see the changes and would strongly recommend the 2nd edition over the 1st.
First of all, the auther picked "aircraft carrier operations' as an example of High Reliablity Organization. I checked US Navy aircraft carrier operation's non-combat injury rate in Navy's website and it was not low. Their injury rate/200,000 hours is 7-8, which is the median of the all indurstries.(Top quartile is around 3 according to US DOL website). As author's says, it is very complex operations which requires highly integrated team work, which I agree and - admire it - , but it is the nature of job and I do not see any part which can be leveraged to my manufacutring indutry's work.
Secondly, the author did not tell how to find any critical signals. He says "be mindful to small signals", but does not show how. There are so many minor signals in a single day - most of them are nuisance but a few are critical - you need to find out which one is the real important one before throwing a dice. Once things happened, you can easily tell which was the "critical" small signal. That's second guess and this is what this book did.
In any project, there is a flood of information - good, bad, unknown as well as input from many customers, collegues, supervisors etc, you got to do screening with your inner criteria and make a decision under uncernity. That criteria - why you think this is imporatnt and that is not - is the key to review before and after the project. Saying "he failed the project because he did not pay attention to xxx(small signal)" is the same with saying nothing.
I think - the real important thing is to build a memory of failure in organization by any means and keep learning to refine those decision making criteria - what to check, who to be involved, etc. Then review them periodically, like which premises succeed and which one did not. This knowledge will be a real value to the organization.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good book, ni e introduction to high relativity organizationsPublished 2 months ago by Francisco A. Ybarra Navarro
Good concept, and I quite liked the example at the front of the book, but I felt like the author did not consistently link back to it, or provide enough new examples.Published 3 months ago by Orvil
This book was recommended by a colleague and was all I expected and more.Published 7 months ago by Cathy Harris
The book chapters have been arranged in away enables you to understand well the ideas behind the High Reliability Organization (HRO) and it's principles. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Khalid Alhaqqan
An excellent book for anyone trying to improve the resiliency of their systems, processes, and/or organization. Well-written and easy to understand.Published 18 months ago by R. McClanahan