Ambiguity and Freedom of Dissent in Post-Incident Discussion

Clifton Scott, Joseph A. Allen, Daniel L. Bonilla, Benjamin E. Baran, Dave Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


The after-action review (AAR) is a discussion technique some high-reliability organizations employ to encourage learning via collective retrospection. AARs are an effective communication tool for promoting reliability if they are held regularly. One way to encourage frequent AARs is to increase participants' satisfaction with these meetings. This study examined the impact of post-incident, pre-discussion ambiguity and freedom of dissent on participant satisfaction with AARs. Firefighters (N = 119) completed a survey on their most recent AAR. As predicted, the level of post-incident, pre-discussion ambiguity was negatively related to AAR satisfaction. Freedom of dissent, however, attenuated the negative influence of ambiguity on AAR satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)383-402
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Business Communication
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • after-action reviews
  • ambiguity
  • meeting satisfaction
  • organizational dissent
  • sensemaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Ambiguity and Freedom of Dissent in Post-Incident Discussion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this