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Ambiguity and Freedom of Dissent in Post-Incident Discussion

Cliff Scott, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Joseph A. Allen, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Daniel L. Bonilla, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Benjamin E. Baran, Northern Kentucky University
Dave Murphy, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Abstract

The after-action review (AAR) is a discussion technique some high-reliability organizations employ to encourage learning via collective retrospection. AARs are an effective communication tool for promoting reliability if they are held regularly. One way to encourage frequent AARs is to increase participants’ satisfaction with these meetings. This study examined the impact of post-incident, pre-discussion ambiguity and freedom of dissent on participant satisfaction with AARs. Firefighters (N = 119) completed a survey on their most recent AAR. As predicted, the level of post-incident, pre-discussion ambiguity was negatively related to AAR satisfaction. Freedom of dissent, however, attenuated the negative influence of ambiguity on AAR satisfaction.

Suggested Citation

Cliff Scott, Joseph A. Allen, Daniel L. Bonilla, Benjamin E. Baran, and Dave Murphy. "Ambiguity and Freedom of Dissent in Post-Incident Discussion" Journal of Business Communication 50.4 (2013): 383-402.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_allen/30