Tapping the Tacit Wisdom of Technicians to Boost Performance at the Federal Aviation Administration

(Cet évènement sera présenté en anglais seulement)

Webinar: December 1, 2022; 9 to 11am (Pacific Time Zone)

Presenter: Dr. Clarissa Sawyer

Please join the ACE BC/YK Region for its year-end webinar finale. We had planned 2 presentations but due to unforeseen circumstances, we need to re-schedule one.


  • ACE members and students: Free
  • Non-members: $20 plus tax


Learn how the tacit wisdom of technicians was tapped to dramatically improve the performance of a very high-frequency omni-directional range (VOR), a type of short-range radio navigation system for aircraft, in one region of the Federal Aviation Administration after previous efforts had failed.  First, a “best practices in facility performance” project team gathered “success stories” from technicians across the region. Analysis of the stories revealed patterns of practice associated with higher and lower performance among individual technicians, work groups, and workgroup supervisors. Next, a series of pilot projects increased knowledge sharing, fostered a culture of learning, and improved team collaboration. Within 18 months, regional VOR performance increased from last place nationally (9th) to 5th place.  Methods drew from Participatory Action Research, Dialogic Organization Development, and Adaptive Leadership. Design principles and success metrics will be shared.


Dr. Clarissa Sawyer is an expert in high-consequence industries, such as aviation and health care, where human life or quality of life is at stake along with elevated public accountability.  Her areas of research and practice focus on the contributions of positive psychology to improving individual, team, and organizational well-being. Dr. Sawyer was most recently a lecturer in psychology at Bentley University after a 20-year career as an organization development consultant for Second Curve Systems, the MITRE Corporation, the Federal Aviation Administration, and Arthur D. Little. Her Ed.D in Administration, Planning, and Social Policy is from Harvard University, where she focused on organizational behavior and leadership under the mentorship of Ron Heifetz, Richard Hackman, Chris Argyris, and Don Schon.