After-action reviews: The good behavior, the bad behavior, and why we should care

John Crowe, Joseph A. Allen, Cliff W. Scott, Mackenzie Harms, Michael Yoerger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


After action reviews have been a common learning and reliability intervention in organizations for decades, and though they have attracted the interest of scholars in recent years, researchers have yet to consider practitioner views of what makes these meetings more or less effective and to check their association with desired outcomes. The current multi-study begins by investigating what makes for good and bad after-action reviews (AARs) using an inductive approach and analyzing responses to open-ended questions about AAR attendee behaviors perceived as more or less effective by participants. Building upon Study 1, Study 2 focuses on the effects of good attendee behavior on desirable outcomes for AARs in high-reliability organizations (HROs). Self-reported data were obtained through online surveys (N = 311). As hypothesized, the first study found that when open-ended questions were posed to firefighters there was strong agreement on what is required to facilitate a good AAR and prevent a bad one. The second study found that conducting AARs provides a venue for team building and potentially enhancing the safety climate on crews.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)84-92
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • After-action reviews
  • Firefighting
  • High-reliability organization
  • Safety
  • Trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Safety Research
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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