NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED539535
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 346
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-4258-0
Organizational Learning from near Misses, Incidents, Accidents, and Fatalities: A Multiple Case Study of the USA Amusement Industry
Wall, Kathleen Horner
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
Accidents and fatalities at USA amusement parks are rare, yet when they do occur, they can injure, maim, and even kill. This dissertation sheds light on how three family-owned amusement parks learned and improved as organizations from their own and others' failure experience. Using a multiple case study design, 18 participants were interviewed. Participants were those most responsible for amusement ride safety, such as general managers, ride managers, safety managers, and ride maintenance managers. Five third-party safety consultants who inspect amusement rides and a focus group consisting of eight participants drawn from an amusement industry "safety school" were also interviewed. The themes that emerged revealed that differentiated forms of learning occurred among the two amusement parks that had a fatality in the past and the one park that had not. This research provided insight into what organizational learning looks like as it takes place in natural settings. This study traced how and why fatality experience destabilized the organization, and how learning and problem solving--aided by leadership, policies, practices, and other organizational supports--led to deeper levels of group and organizational learning and change. In addition to identifying key barriers to learning, such as rigid management and anemic safety cultures, the findings suggested that amusement ride-related fatality experience catalyzed learning across departments. Amusement parks that had suffered a fatality were also more inclined to share their experience with others. Importantly, those amusement parks that had suffered a fatality and emerged stronger from it also embraced five operational practices found in high reliability organizations. The researcher concludes that senior executives must establish organized and systematic opportunities for learning and sharing experiences. Open forums, the development of metrics, and the adoption of a shared culture of care and safety are recommended, along with efforts to improve the capacity for learning as well as operationalizing the five operational practices of high reliability organizations tailored to amusement ride operations. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A