Understanding The Social Psychology of Risk – Prof Karl E. Weick

Understanding The Social Psychology of Risk – Prof Karl E. Weick

imageThe contribution of Prof. Karl E. Weick to the genre of social psychology is enormous. (His 5 key texts are listed below). I first read Weick in 1985 as part of my Master’s Thesis at Sydney University and would count my contact with him as a ‘conversion’ experience. Weick is one of the pioneers of the social psychology of risk and his three key concepts of ‘collective mindfulness’, ‘high reliability organisations’ (HRO) and ‘organisational sensemaking’ should be foundational to any risk or safety training. Weick’s work sets the foundation for the MiProfile diagnostic that I developed in 2004. Weick’s HRO should be the pinnacle for goal setting for the safety industry (not zero harm).

When I decided to create the post graduate program in the psychology of risk at ACU in 2011 (http://www.humandymensions.com/post-graduate-studies ), I knew that a study of Weick would be foundational. Weick is first introduced in Unit 1 of the Program but is later tackled fully in Unit 4.

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One of the students in the third cohort of students in the Post Graduate Program, James Ellis, submitted an outstanding essay on Weick as his first essay. James’ grasp of Weick and key concepts serve as an exemplar in critical thinking, writing and articulation of ideas. James has given permission to share his essay with you. Well done James.



imageJames Ellis is Managing Director of The Framework Group – Workplace Injury Management Specialists

Further Reading

Weick, K., (1979) The Social Psychology of Organizing. McGraw Hill, New York.

Weick, K., (1995) Sensemaking in Organisations. Sage Publications, London.

Weick, K., and Sutcliffe, K., (2001a) Managing the Unexpected. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.

Weick, K., (2001) Making Sense of the Organisation Vol. 1. Blackwell, London.

Weick, K., (2001b) Making Sense of the Organisation Vol. 2. Blackwell, Oxford.

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