High-reliability organizing and communication during naturalistic decision making: U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) forecasting teams’ use of ‘floating’

Arden C. Roeder, Ryan S. Bisel, William T. Howe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study explores how a high-reliability team (HRT) employed an informal communication norm to facilitate access to members’ distributed expertise during forecast decisions, despite time pressures. The communication norm was documented during observations of U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) forecast team members’ naturalistic decision making (NDM) regarding forecasts. We labeled the norm, floating. Although NWS members did not have an explicit term for their communication norm, follow-up interviews revealed they readily confirmed its existence and expressed an expectation that other members would engage in floating during collective forecast decision making. Additionally, analysis of interview data suggested floating facilitated team cognition and helped enact reluctance to simplify, sensitivity to operations, and deference to expertise. Implications for high-reliability team and organization (HRT&O) theory, naturalistic decision making, expertise, and team cognition conclude the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-459
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 National Communication Association.

Keywords

  • communication norms
  • expertise
  • high-reliability organization theory
  • naturalistic decision making
  • team cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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