Sbiancare il cigno nero? Strategie e competenze manageriali per riconoscere il nuovo (Whiten the black swan? Managerial strategies and skills to recognize the new)

  • Maria Laura Frigotto
  • Alessandro Narduzzo
Keywords: unexpected events, black swan, emergency management, preparedness


Purpose of the paper: The literature that analyzes how organizations deals with black swans tends to emphasize the importance of learning from experience, extending over time the number of cases that the organization is able to manage. This paper proposes a radically different approach suggesting that organizations can face unexpected events as they occur, instead of “whitening” the black swans after they have occurred. To this end, organizations develop a peculiar system of capabilities and set of strategies.

Methodology: This study reviews the managerial literature on black swans, along with the theoretical approach to organizations of the Carnegie School. The proposed theoretical framework is stimulated by a critical discussion of the literature on emergency management.

Findings: The formulation of two strategies and a system of competencies that allow to recognize and manage unexpected events without “transforming” them into risky events.

Research limitations: The original conceptualization of the management of black swans framed by this study does not distinguish the specificities of different contexts that may affect the decision-making process.

Research and managerial implications: The paper identifies a system of organizational capabilities that allow the firm to detect and manage black swan events while they happen.

Originality/value of the paper: This work develops a conceptualization of the management of black swan that is consistent with the ontological nature of these phenomena.


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