Organizational meta-scripts as a source of high reliability: The case of an army armored brigade

Dov Zohar, Gil Luria

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Many high-reliability organizations must deal with the problem of requisite cognitive variety in operators of interactively complex technological systems. The present study describes an organizational script strategy dealing with this problem, based on development of shared meta-scripts sustained by continuous learning. Analysis of mission briefing and debriefing protocols in an armored brigade indicated that most task-related interactions were based on script language (i.e., verbs and action phrases signifying particular meta-scripts and relevant contingencies). These protocols suggest that script-trained operators construe complex missions as interchangeable combinations of 15 meta-scripts, reducing cognitive demands or requisite variety to manageable proportions. An ongoing learning process, maintained via repeated script-based feedback during debriefings, further reduces cognitive demands by increasing available variety in operators. Implications for performance reliability in ordinary organizations are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)837-859
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Organizational Behavior
Issue numberSPEC. ISS. NOV.
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology (all)
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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