For Whom the Bell Tolls: Imagining Accidents and the Development of Crisis Simulation in Organizations
AbstractThis article explores how organizations can prepare for crisis events by training crisis management teams (CMTs) using real-time, simulated crises. The article focuses on the impact of such training on the performance of CMTs and the manner in which such training can improve the capability of the organization to deal with adverse events. The article argues that effective learning from crisis is an important factor in shaping the processes by which organizations can prevent crises from incubating. By simulating crisis events based on an external audit of the organization’s vulnerabilities, it is possible to surface many of the assumptions and beliefs that are held concerning the organization’s procedures and protocols. It also explores how crises incubate and subsequently evolve. This allows for an examination of how the organization can move toward the creation of a crisis-prepared culture. The article reports the findings of ongoing ethnographic research with a number of companies.