Book Review: Organizational Resilience: How Learning Sustains Organizations in Crisis, Disaster, and Breakdowns

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Organizational Resilience Cover

D. Christopher Kayes: Organizational Resilience: How Learning Sustains Organizations in Crisis, Disaster, and Breakdowns. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. 171 pp. $59.95, hardcover.

Karl E. Weick of Ross School of Business recently reviewed the book in Administrative Science Quarterly. From the review:

Kayes has been a long-time, articulate student of experiential learning (e.g., 2002) and of dramatic instances when such learning falls short (e.g., 2004). Those strengths are evident again in this volume. The argument is developed along two dimensions: the environment is either routine or novel, and the operational orientation is either performance or learning. Of special interest are those situations in which a performance orientation in a routine environment shifts abruptly or gradually toward a requirement for ASQ_v60n4_Dec2015_cover.indda learning orientation in a novel environment. These shifts are often incomplete because factors such as preoccupation with goals, unwarranted optimism, and rational decision making make experiential learning more difficult and reinforce a performance orientation.

The author argues that many models of organizational failure (e.g., Janis, 1972; Reason, 1990; Perrow, 1999) are inadequate because they ignore how failing masks breakdowns and recoveries of learning. Because learning is a ‘‘naturally occurring process,’’ disruptions of that ongoing process contribute to disasters and make them worse.

You can read the full review from Administrative Science Quarterly by clicking here. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have all the research and reviews like this sent directly to your inbox!

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