High reliability organization (HRO) theory suggests that early detection of and swift responses to potentially hazardous and situation changing events in organizational environments is central to the sustainability of reliable operations. Limited research on HRO’s (e.g. military groups and firefighters) considers how normative demands on feeling and emotion help to explain why some events are recognized and responded to while others not. In this article, we propose a model of enactment of anomalous events (i.e., situation changing events) that considers the manner in which emotions are regulated in high reliability contexts and how this influences the extent to which early indicators of anomalous events are heeded or dismissed. In this article, we seek to provide a theoretical framework for explaining both the enabling mechanisms by which emotions may function as a signaling resource in the detection of anomalous events and the constraining mechanisms through when emotion regulation processes may inhibit reliability. We discuss implications of the model for researchers and practitioners in high reliability organizations.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/joseph_allen/32/