Shots fired! Why is switching between organisational practices so difficult?


Imagine you work for the police and are involved in large covert surveillance of a notorious criminal. The team is experienced and includes a helicopter, cars, a high tech listening post, and over a dozen agents observing the site. Just after your team has taken positions, your subject gets shot. You can see the shooter, but are unable to move. Your colleagues cannot see what is happening, but you have difficulty getting into contact with them. The local police do not have a clue of what is going on – it’s a covert operation after all. They can’t start helping you out of the blue. It all happened to Jim, an experienced police officer. From his helicopter he observed the operation. The escape of the murderer left the team highly frustrated and angry. While in the media conspiracy theories bloomed, questions were being asked in the Dutch House of Representatives. The tenor was all the same: how could a criminal be shot in plain sight of police officers with the murderer getting away with it?

Samer Faraj holds the Canada Research Chair in Technology, Management, and Healthcare at the Desautels Faculty of Management, at McGill University. 

Read full article: LSE Business Review, June 29, 2016