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Beth Veinott, Gary L. Klein, & Sterling Wiggins. (2010). Evaluating the effectiveness of the PreMortem technique on plan confidence. In C. Zobel B. T. S. French (Ed.), ISCRAM 2010 – 7th International Conference on Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management: Defining Crisis Management 3.0, Proceedings. Seattle, WA: Information Systems for Crisis Response and Management, ISCRAM.
Abstract: One problem affecting crisis management planning teams is overconfidence- An inflated belief that a plan will be successful. In this paper we compared the effect of several different methods for reducing individual team member confidence levels and compared each to a baseline control condition. One hundred and seventy-eight people participated in one of five conditions to evaluate an H1N1 flu epidemic plan in a university context. Over the course of evaluating the plan, participants provided several ratings of confidence in the plan's success and their understanding. We compared several techniques commonly used, such as critique, Pro/Cons generation, Cons only generation and a newer technique, PreMortem, to a baseline condition. The Pro/Cons generation, Cons only generation and the PreMortem technique all reliably reduced confidence levels more than baseline condition. Furthermore, the Premortem method, imagining that a plan has failed and then generating reasons to explain why, reliably reduced confidence more than each of the other conditions, and therefore can be a useful tool for combating overconfidence in crisis management planning. We discuss the results in the context of sensemaking and decision making theory.