Colloquium by Dr. Joseph A. Allen on June 25

Meeting Science Revealed: A Focus on Learning through After-Action Reviews

June 25, 4 pm in the Transitorium (TR K1B74)

Actors in high-reliability organizations often form meetings to discuss incidents and learn from them. Such after action reviews (AARs) are structured opportunities for shared retrospective learning, innovation development, and continuous improvement. Research on after action reviews has examined the meeting-level antecedents and outcomes associated with various elements of AARs, but lacks the focus on the specific behaviors that meeting attendees and meeting leaders engage in during the meeting that impact key outcomes of AARs. The current multi-study begins by investigating what makes for good and bad after-action reviews (AARs) using an inductive approach and analyzing responses to open-ended questions about AAR attendee behaviors perceived as more or less effective by participants. Building upon Study 1, Study 2 focuses on the effects of good attendee behavior on desirable outcomes for AARs in high-reliability organizations (HROs). Self-reported data were obtained through online surveys (N = 311). As hypothesized, the first study found that when open-ended questions were posed to firefighters there was strong agreement on what is required to facilitate a good AAR and prevent a bad one. The second study found that conducting AARs provides a venue for team building and potentially enhancing the safety climate on crews. Implications for the study of AARs in various settings will be discussed.

More info on Joe Allen’s work here.