Highly Reliable Teams in Search and Rescue: Seven Characteristics of Excellence

Scott C. Hammond, PhD, James Y. Taylor, EdD Jon M. Huntsman School of Business, Utah State University

Email: scott.hammond@usu.edu



This paper shows how search and rescue (SAR) teams become highly reliable teams (HRTs). It is based on participant observation and interviews over several years, including the SAR experience of the authors. It is also an adaptation and application of the research of Weick and Sutcliffe (2007). We introduce the concept of highly reliable teams by establishing that SAR teams routinely work complex problems. The characteristics of complex problems then drive seven critical characteristics of highly reliable teams which are both descriptive and prescriptive.

Key Words: Teams, Reliability, Complex Problems, SAR Teams, Problem Solving

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