This study explores complexities associated with outdoor leaders' backcountry decision making, including decision-making errors that can often pose a realistic and overlooked challenge for experienced outdoor instructors (EOIs). Although experience assists in the formation of high quality decisions in routine situations, this study was concerned with uncovering how experience can also lead to constructing poor decisions. There are numerous accounts of experienced instructors and their successes (and literature supporting that experience is synonymous with competency), but rarely is exposure given to the accounts of experienced instructors making poor decisions as they develop expertise. This study attempts to answer the question: Can an increase in outdoor leader experience contribute to certain types of errors in decision making? Narrative excerpts were collected from 10 EOIs who worked in a backcountry setting for greater than five years and who were between the ages of 28-51. Methodology included the application of Critical Decision Method Interviews to collaboratively analyze EOIs vulnerability to misconceptions while formulating backcountry decisions. Of the factors that participating instructors identified as influential to their flawed decisions, the following subcategories were found: (i) self deception, (ii) ego needs, (iii) loss of objectivity, (iv) inadequate situational awareness, (v) complexities of time management, (vi) staff team miscommunications, and (vii) objective factors. Further outcomes of this study include an improved decision-making training template tailored to address the needs of EOIs separate from novice instructors. Information found in this study can educate EOIs and program managers alike to enhance risk management curriculum and practice.
|Commitee:||Gookin, John, Mitten, Denise|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Critical decision method interviews, Experience-based judgment, Naturalistic settings, Outdoor leadership, Sensemaking|
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