• Organizations that go through rare and unusual events, whether they are costly or beneficial, face the challenge of interpreting and learning from these experiences. Although research suggests that organizations respond to this challenge in a variety of ways, we lack a framework for comparing and analyzing how organizational learning is affected by rare events. This paper develops such a framework. We begin by first outlining two views of rare events. The first view defines rare events as probability estimates, usually calculated from the frequency of the event. The second view defines rare events as opportunities for unique sensemaking based on the enacted salience of specific features of the rare events.
  • This paper argues that two different types of a firm's own extreme performance experiences—success and recovery—and their interactions can generate survival-enhancing learning. Although these types of experience often represent valuable sources of useful learning, several important learning challenges arise when a firm has extremely limited prior experience of the same type. Thus, we theorize that a certain threshold of a given type of experience is required before each type of experience becomes valuable, with low levels of experience harming the organization. Furthermore, we propose that success and recovery experience will interact to enhance each other's value.
  • "Organizations learn from experience. Sometimes, however, history is not generous with experience. We explore how organizations convert infrequent events into interpretations of history, and how they balance the need to achieve agreement on interpretations with the need to interpret history correctly. We ask what methods are used, what problems are involved, and what improvements might be made. Although the methods we observe are not guaranteed to lead to consistent agreement on interpretations, valid knowledge, improved organizational performance, or organizational survival, they provide possible insights into the possibilities for and problems of learning from fragments of history."
  • n this talk I will reflect on contemporary human expression when it is often said that everyone is suffering from communications overload. I will ask how we might measure communication, and draw a contrast between different ways of doing so. I will look at how measuring is done in communications engineering and computer science, for example, and will review some of the literature on email overload and the burdens of social networking that can be found in the anthropology, communications science and social science literature. I will contrast all this with techniques appropriate and commonplace in the everyday world of human affairs and suggest that one of the problems that we have when answering this question has to do with deciding on the relative merits and values of everyday and scientific reason. I will remark that HCI has to deal with this distinction in much of its current research activities.