Managing the unexpected in prescribed fire use operations: a workshop on the high reliability organization
Document Type: Book
Author(s): P. Keller; K. R. Weick; K. Sutcliffe; J. Saveland; L. Lahey; D. Thomas; P. Nasiatka
Publication Year: 2004

Cataloging Information

  • droughts
  • fire management
  • fire suppression
  • high reliability organization
  • immunity to change
  • insects
  • learning organization
  • Mexico
  • Michigan
  • mindfulness
  • New Mexico
  • plant diseases
  • population density
  • prescribed fire and fire use
  • sensemaking
  • staff ride
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • wildfires
  • wildlife
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: August 6, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 45846
Tall Timbers Record Number: 21450
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: A13.88:RMRS-137
TTRS Abstract Status: Fair use, Okay, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


How do we organize for high performance in a setting where the potential for error and disaster can be overwhelming? In doing so, how can we best apply the High Reliability Organizing concepts into the prescribed fire and fire use arenas? And, to successfully achieve these outcomes, how can we personally and institutionally overcome our immunity to change?This report summarizes how these questions -- and many others -- were addressed through the activities, discussions, and lessons learned during the four-day Managing the Unexpected Workshop held May 10-13 2004, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The report documents and examines the day-to-day workshop chronology from its opening keynote address and 'Managing the Unexpected' presentation, through the all-day Staff Ride to the 2000 Cerro Grande Prescribed Fire site, the Staff Ride's Integration Phase, and the final day's thoughtprovoking and challenging 'Immunity to Change' exercise.Overall workshop intent was to introduce the latest social science to the prescribed fire and fire use management community.Noted organizational psychologists Dr. Karl F. Weick, the Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor of Organizational Behavior and Psychology, and Dr. Kathleen Sutcliffe, of the University of Michigan Business School, were the workshop's featured presenters. Authors of Managing the Unexpected -- Assuring High Performance in on Age of Complexity, they participated in the entire four-day workshop 'clarifying ideas, answering questions, and learning,' notes Dr. Weick.In addition, the Harvard University Graduate School's organizational psychologists Dr. Robert Kegan, William and Miriam Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development, and Dr. Lisa Lahey, Research Director of the Change Leadership Group, were also featured presenters. Authors of The Real Reason People Won't Change, they introduced workshop participants to their psychologically dynamic Immunity to Change exercise. Twenty workshop participants participated with Kegan and Lahey in a three-month 'coaching process' followup.The workshop was hosted by: The USDA Forest Service; USDI National Park Service; Rocky Mountain Research Station; Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center; Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory; National Wildfire Coordinating Group's Social Science Task Group; The Nature Conservancy; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Keller, P., K. R. Weick, K. Sutcliffe, J. Saveland, L. Lahey, D. Thomas, and P. Nasiatka. 2004. Managing the unexpected in prescribed fire use operations: a workshop on the high reliability organization. General Technical Report RMRS-GTR-137. Fort Collins, CO, USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station.