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Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity [Hardcover]

By Karl E. Weick (Author) & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe (Author)
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Item description for Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity by Karl E. Weick & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe...

"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

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Jossey-Bass
Pages   224
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jul 3, 2001
Publisher   Jossey-Bass
ISBN  0787956279  
ISBN13  9780787956271  

Availability  0 units.

More About Karl E. Weick & Kathleen M. Sutcliffe

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KARL E. WEICK is the Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behavior and Psychology at the University of Michigan. Weick received the Irwin Award and Best Article of the Year award from the Academy of Management. Fast Company's Senior Editor Keith Hammonds calls Weick "the smartest business thinker that you've never heard of."

KATHLEEN M. SUTCLIFFE is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine at Johns Hopkins University and the Gilbert and Ruth Whitaker Professor Emerita of Business Administration at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. She was named Researcher of the year and has served on a National Academy of Science panel to assess the resilience of the Department of Homeland Security.

Karl E. Weick currently resides in the state of Michigan. Karl E. Weick has an academic affiliation as follows - Univ. of Michigan University of Michigan University of Michigan Univer.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Leadership
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Management & Leadership > Management
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Small Business & Entrepreneurship > Entrepreneurship

Reviews - What do customers think about Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity?

Unexpectedly relevant  Jun 15, 2008
I found this book well written, researched and presented. It is an academic work that reads easily and has application and relevance across many platforms including many that are not mentioned (e.g. health care). The examples are clearly presented. Like many books written along these topic lines, the examples are represented in iterative formats to draw out the specific issues. To many readers this may appear repetitive but it does enhance the understanding for those that wish to develop more depth.
Becoming a Resilient Organization  Jan 7, 2008
Weick and Sutcliffe provide exceptional insights into high reliability organizations (HROs) and how lessons learned from HROs can be applied to other organizations that are not satisfied with just being good. The authors address the five hallmarks of mindfulness that distinguish HROs from all other organization types. The authors provide detailed checklists through which company leaders can audit and assess organizational readiness for dealing with unexpected events. The authors address the critical value of organizational culture in dealing with unexpected events and how organizational leaders can build the capacity to "manage mindfully". The text is well-documented and well-indexed. Each of the six chapters is summarized for rapid review; however, with ony 173 pages of substantive text, this "must read" can be completed in only a few hours. Knowledgeable leaders who are interested in creating resilient organizations should also read Ian Mitroff's "Crisis Leadership" (John Wiley & Sons) as an accompanying text.
Good luck!  Dec 28, 2007
This book is to be read by anyone really interested about how organizations work.

The main point could be explained in a single sentence: We can get valuable lessons if we pay attention to organizations who work in high risk and unpredictable environments.

This is my own view and, actually, I tried to show this using aviation as a kind of learning field. That is why I hope the authors will be lucky. My own experience was unsuccessful and that itself shows that the authors are right.

When I started to get conclusions from aviation to business management, I found that the more interested people came precisely from aviation. I'm afraid the authors could suffer the same experience and people interested in their concepts could come from air carriers, nuclear-powered plants and some other examples they use.

The authors could be three or four steps in advance of the present situation in business management. They try to extract the right lessons from other fields. However, they would not be surprised if their intent "bounces back" and it is picked-up precisely from the fields that they try to show as examples, not from business management.
Recipe for a Learning Organization   Nov 6, 2007
In this well written, easy to read, analysis of organizations in highly complex and dangerous settings that persistently have less than their fair share of accidents - High Reliability Organizations - Professors Weick and Sutcliffe provide the recipe for a `learning organization'. Noting that HRO's share the hallmark of "mindfulness", the authors' define this characteristic as consisting of five key elements that every organization can use for dealing with the unexpected. The authors' call these five elements:
1. Preoccupation with failure - treating any failure (often small ones) as a symptom that something is wrong with the system, they are continually updating their 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. Deference to expertise - cultivating diversity to do more with complexities, they push decisions down to the people with the most expertise, not the most rank. They also move issues around/across the system, migrating problems to someone with the knowledge and capabilities to address them.

Together, these elements give the organization `mindfulness', and this organizational mindset allows it to handle the unexpected with more responsibility and thus a higher probability of success in the face of change. Although the HRO's analyzed (aircraft carriers, nuclear power plants, and others) operate in more dangerous environments than the average business, today's rapidity of change causes the unexpected to happen to every organization and it would seem that the five elements of mindfulness could benefit nearly every organization today.
Dennis DeWilde, author of "The Performance Connection"
Unexpectedly a good read  Jan 18, 2007
I was please with the writing of this book. Not only is it a good easy read, but Weick presents the material in an intersting fashion. SO far, it has been most helpful in understanding the components of managing a situation that is completely unexpected.

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