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Managing environmental uncertainty with legitimate authority: a comparative analysis of the Mann Gulch and Storm King Mountain Fires

Author(s): G. Stoney Alder
Year Published: 1997
Description:

Alder recognizes two decisions common to both the Mann Gulch and Storm King Mountain fires that influenced the behavior of firefighters during critical moments: 1) failing to question authority and 2) failing to obey authority. He argues that these failures are based on individual perceptions of legitimate authority. There are four issues contributing to decreasing perceptions of legitimate authority between crew members and their leaders, including lack of prior experience, positive mutual interaction, communication of procedural explanations, and communication of process control. Managers who want to increase the legitimacy of their authority in the eyes of their team members should learn from the mistakes made by leaders and participants in both these fires.

Citation: Alder GS. 1997. Managing environmental uncertainty with legitimate authority: a comparative analysis of the Mann Gulch and Storm King Mountain Fires. Journal of Applied Communication Research 25, pages 98-114. https://doi.org/10.1080/00909889709365469
Topic(s): Fire Communication & Education, Crisis Communication, Human Dimensions of Fire Management, Human Factors of Firefighter Safety, Organizational Effectiveness, Organizational Culture & Identity, Risk
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 15893
Record updated: Nov 27, 2017