Fundamentals of Knowledge

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  • Topic: SWAT, Grounded theory, Research
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KnoName: AHMED EL KHASHAB
Student ID: 119052460
Programme Title: MBA DL
Module Title: Foundation of Knowledge and Professional Skills – MN7500 Review of: EXPECTING THE UNEXPECTED? HOW SWAT OFFICERS AND FILM CREWS HANDLE SURPRISES Academy of Management Journal, 2011, 54 (2): 239-261.

BETH A. BECHKY University of California, Davis and GERARDO A. OKHUYSEN University of Utah

Research Questions
How to adjust to situations when faced with sudden change and ensure the nearest planned outcome? With the assets in hand, what developments can a group use to leverage surprises? When placed in intense situations and expensive outcomes, how can a team quickly adapt with their current tools to achieve a successful task? (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011)

Theoretical Framework
The framework defined is socio-cognitive, where the researchers learned that the SWAT team and film crews adapted shared task knowledge with a common workflow expectation. (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 250) Organizational bricolage that is using available resources to react to surprises was adopted, as role shifting became a common practice for both groups. (Cunha and Chia, 2007: 565) Where the SWAT team experienced surprises while on the job, reorganizing routines was used in consideration of previously practiced scenarios rehearsals, as a planned stealth entry was replaced by a dynamic entrance, because of crackling noise in the wooden floor (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 247). Reordering work was commonly utilized for the film crews when faced with uncontrollable challenges i.e. when a scene couldn’t be filmed due to poor weather conditions resulting in shooting of an alternative scene that was scheduled to film another day (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 248). Both groups practiced a trial and error approach as they faced unexpected challenges during their tasks. Redundancy was a common mean as multiple scenarios were standardized making it necessary to understand the surprises (Magnus, 2006: 31).

Research Design and Methods
The article explores challenges between two teams and their reactions when facing situations that are unplanned, unexpected and usually resulting in a negative outcome of the task. The ethnographic design used for the two organizations were extensive and performed as a qualitative research method. The findings were analysed by many streams and practiced the “Grounded theory approach” (Corbin & Strauss, 1990).

Data Collection
The author’s chose a primary method (Thapra and Burtch, 1991: 162) where data was collected through interviews and conversations for the SWAT team and participation for the film crew. Both groups also used observation as a form of collecting information (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 242). A Secondary data collection method was also utilized by the author’s for both groups in the form of archival material and TV documentaries. (Nicholson and Bennett, 2009: 417) The film crews were analysed by a collection of daily schedules where the SWAT team was researched through tactical officer magazines and training schedules (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 242).

Results of Study and Contribution to Knowledge
Shared task knowledge and common workflow expectations describe social cognitive resources through drafting agreements, reinforcing and elaborating task activities, and building cross member expertise that enabled the organizations to respond to surprises (Bechky and Okhuysen, 2011: 241). The two groups respectively had a drafting agreement on the work. They would plan the incident or task and brainstorm on possible outcomes and process scenarios to minimize surprises and comprehend each other’s role to align a common understanding of how the task would progress. They reinforced and elaborated task activities to support each other’s role in the assignment. In addition, both teams built cross-member expertise where each member would know the fundamentals of each other’s role. The author’s quoted a SWAT team paramedic...
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