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Managing the Unexpected
Cover of Managing the Unexpected
Managing the Unexpected
Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty
Borrow Borrow

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 Weick and Kathleen 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.

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 Weick and Kathleen 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.

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About the Author-
  • Karl E. Weick is the Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan. His book The Social Psychology of Organizing was designated by Jim Collins in Inc. magazine as one of the nine best business books ever written.
Table of Contents-
  • Preface.

    1. Managing the Unexpected: What Business Can Learn from High-Reliability Organizations.

    2. Expectations and Mindfulness.

    3. The Three Principles of Anticipation.

    4. Principles of Containment.

    5. Assessing Your Capabilities for Resilient Performance.

    6. Organizational Culture: Institutionalizing Mindfulness.

    7. How to Manage Mindfully.

    Notes.

    The Authors.

    Index.

Reviews-
  • Professional Manager, January 2002 "Of all the people Tom and I quoted in In Search of Excellence Karl Weick was hands down the most influential. As a researcher and thought leader on matters organizational and strategic, Karl gets an eleven on my scale of one to ten. Now Weick and Sutcliffe have written on a subject they have been researching for a very long time: excellence in responding to crisis in organizational settings that are inherently complex and dangerous. The differences they find between these organizations and the ones that, well, kill people have much to teach us all, even those of us operating in less dangerous settings. I loved this book, even the footnotes." (Bob Waterman, coauthor, In Search of Excellence)

    "The cost of unpleasant surprises in business is escalating. Missed earnings or late and unsafe products or services, for example, can result in disastrous consequences for a company and its management . . . . Weick and Sutcliffe offer five sound organizational principles for building a company that delivers what it promises. This is an exceptionally well written and practical book that can ensure your company's future." (Michael Beer, Cahners-Rabb Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School)

    "For anyone who wants a better understanding of how organizations and leaders can cope with and master ambiguity, uncertainty, and change, this is the first and best book to go to." (Warren Bennis, University Professor and Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, University of Southern California Marshall School of Business, and coauthor, Geeks and Geezers)

    "Breaks important new ground in organization theory and provides extremely relevant insights for leaders who want to create high performance cultures that are also truly adaptable and resilient. Written in a captivating style, filled with evocative examples and pragmatic guidelines, this book should be mandatory reading for both theorist and practitioner alike." (John Seely Brown, former director Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and coauthor, The Social Life of Information, HBSP 2000)

    "A must read for managers and others in organizations with low tolerance for error. Weick and Sutcliffe's book is filled with recipes for success." (Karlene H. Roberts, professor, Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley)

    "...it's worth reading..."
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Managing the Unexpected
Managing the Unexpected
Resilient Performance in an Age of Uncertainty
Karl E. Weick
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