Leadership In Escape From Underground Mine Fires; Behavioral And Organizational Dimensions Of Underground Mine Fires
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Leadership In Escape From Underground Mine Fires; Behavioral And Organizational Dimensions Of Underground Mine Fires

  • 1/1/2000

Filetype[PDF-91.38 KB]


  • Description:
    This chapter explores leadership behavior in a life-threatening situation-fire in a coal mine. Previous chapters have discussed the database of interviews with miners who escaped from underground fires. Researchers raised questions such as: (1) Who led the miners out of the mine? (2) Did leadership make a difference in the escapes? (3) Was the escape leader the hierarchal leader? (4) What, if any, characteristics did the escape leaders possess? Subsequently, researchers analyzed the mine fire database from a group interaction perspective to address the leadership questions posed. Leadership has been one of the most researched topics of human behavior in the twentieth century. Studies have ranged from individual characteristics of leaders, to situational leadership, to interaction of leader and follower, suggesting different leadership techniques for different followers. The question that emerges here is: Are there different types of leadership that "fit" different kinds of situations? In a crisis situation like that examined in the present study, such information about leadership may significantly improve the chances of escape. To address these issues, the study team looked at the formal authority structure before each fire, considered leadership behavior or lack of leadership during the escapes, and examined those conditions associated with the emergence of leadership. According to Bardo [ 1978], "Emergent behaviors are those forms of action, and the norms, values and beliefs governing those actions, that rise out of the disaster situation." This chapter discusses previous studies in the area of crisis leadership and examines the emergent behaviors of leaders under duress during the mine fire escapes. Previous Studies The research on leadership during emergency situations has consisted mainly of simulation and field studies, with the principal concern being escape from building fires. During the 1980s, Hayashi [1988] created a computer simulation model to evaluate leader behavior in a fire. Although his purpose was to aid in planning for disaster prevention, his findings are relevant because they address the issue of situational leadership in crisis-where a leader changes his or her behavior to fit the situation. Essentially, his simulation model was designed to judge the actions and thinking of leaders. The simulation was tried by 101 subject/leaders 4 times each. The simulation consisted of amaze containing the leader, an informal leader, and 50 evacuees. Interestingly, the results indicated that the leader's actions were not dictated by circumstances. Any differences in behavior were attributed to the individual characteristics of each leader. The study also showed that the worse the situation became, the less individual
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