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Durham Research Online
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Avoiding extreme risk before it occurs : a complexity science approach toward incubation.

McKelvey, B. and Andriani, P. (2010) 'Avoiding extreme risk before it occurs : a complexity science approach toward incubation.', Risk management., 12 (1). pp. 54-82.

Abstract

Crises appearing in many kinds of organizations are found to be mostly caused by management and workers. The acquisition of the Southern Pacific railroad by the Union Pacific in 1996 provides a dramatic case of how tiny initiating events – incubation events – that appeared chaotic, random and unimportant to an arrogant management spiralled into a crisis. This article draws on theories from complexity science to explain how and why such spiralling processes are set off. The various kinds of initiating incubation events are connected to five specific scale-free theories. Knowledge of each scale-free theory, and others, offers managers improved chances of dealing with incubation events sooner. Given that people often ‘don’t see what they aren’t looking for’, scale-free theories are a means of lessening cognitive blindness and giving the concept of mindfulness more visual substance. As managers train to be more sensitive to scale-free causes, their chances of avoiding extreme crises are improved.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Incubation crises, Complexity science, Scalability, UP/SP merger, Mindfulness.
Full text:PDF - Accepted Version (481Kb)
Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/rm.2009.14
Publisher statement:This is a post-peer-review pre-copyedit version of an article published in Risk management The definitive publisher-authenticated version McKelvey, B. and Andriani, P. (2009) 'Avoiding extreme risk before it occurs : a complexity science approach toward incubation.', Risk management., 12 (1). pp. 54-82 is available online at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1057/rm.2009.14
Record Created:24 Mar 2010 14:35
Last Modified:14 Dec 2011 09:38

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