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Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty Hardcover – 18 Sep 2007

4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 194 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Edition edition (18 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0787996491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0787996499
  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 2 x 23.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 45,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Review

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.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is the second edition of this very insightful book.Every organisation has to cope with the unexpected, anticipating and responding/adapting quickly.The authors provide guidance and on how to build your capabilities in performing effectively in whatever setting you are in.
One of the case studies covers the failures at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, which makes for interesting reading given the current problems in the NHS in Kent (Oct 2007).
In my experience as an Interim Manager I have frequently seen examples of how management has been blindsided/missed what has been developing in terms of potential crisis situations.This book is unusual in tackling this area in a very straightforward way.
Stan Felstead.
Interchange Resources.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Weick's book may not be quite as topical as the more standard management guides of today but it is certainly a lot more insightful and quite useful in the long run. His focus is not on short term profitability or on efficiency gains but on a completely different field - namely on the long term survivability or viability of an organization.

In the book Weick describes practices and attitudes necessary for organizational resilience, such as mindfulness, the practice of not simplifying too quickly and of interpreting weak signals correctly and pairing them with appropriate (i.e. not too weak) responses, so as to prevent escalation.

It makes for refreshing reading and many of the case examples are quite enlightening - i.e. they are easy to communicate to management and should be graphic and salient enough to ensure at least a preliminary buy in. The book is also an easy and engaging read and can be easily devoured on a transcontinental flight.

What Weick does not manage to do, however, is to show a complete roadmap of how to deal with the standard obstacles on the way - i.e. it is a description of practices and attitudes of an organization, which has already achieved a high reliability / resilience status but as often, the trick lies in building one up from scratch.

In essence, a manager wishing to modify their organization according to Weick's principles will have a blueprint of a final result and its benefits (again, Weick could in principle make it easier by showing more numeric examples of the real benefit of using the approach, in spite of the initially higher costs associated with it) but will still need to blaze the trail towards it somewhat unsupported.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
OK EXCELLENT
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Tedious repetitive drivel. Struggling to get through the book. Struggling to get any useful insights. Second edition: who buys (and reads) this sort of stuff?
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Format: Hardcover
A very good book in helping to understand the path in terms preparing for threats to an organisation; helping to understand the dominoes effect of some choices.
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