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Don't just do something, stand there!
journal contributionposted on 2018-05-01, 00:00 authored by Christopher BearmanChristopher Bearman, P Bremner
Goal seduction is a phenomenon where the goal that someone is trying to achieve exerts too much influence over their decision making, leading to sub-optimal performance. In emergency management given the important and urgent nature of the goals that people are trying to achieve mitigating goal seduction is an important part of a safe and effective response. This paper explores the types, consequences and management of goal seduction in volunteer fire brigades in Australia. Ten experienced volunteer incident commanders participated in a semi-structured interview on challenging situations they had faced. The experience of the incident commanders ranged from nine to 34 years (M=22). A thematic analysis revealed examples of goal seduction, the problems it could cause and the way it was managed by incident controllers. Goal seduction could affect both the incident controller and the crew, with one controller succumbing to goal seduction and acting in a way that violated policy. It is important then that incident controllers are aware of the effects of goal seduction and seek to manage its influence on themselves and their crew. Goal seduction is the pressure to try to achieve a goal when this is not the safest course of action. In such situations the best advice may be “don’t just do something, stand there.”