Re: [SystemSafety] HROs and NAT (was USAF Nuclear Accidents prior to 1967)

From: John Downer < >
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2013 14:33:08 -0400

On Sep 23, 2013, at 5:50 AM, Andrew Rae <andrew.rae_at_xxxxxx

> The strong interpretation is that there is empirical support for naming a particular set of characteristics as the most important, and that this support comes from identifying particular organisations as safety over-achievers. You can't support this strong interpretation via the weak interpretation. The weak interpretation is a _fallback_ position that requires abandoning the strong interpretation. What's left is not HRO. It is exactly the same space that Normal Accidents, Disaster Incubation Theory, HROs, Vulnerable System Syndrome, and (tangentially) STAMP, have been trying to fill. We know that organisation structure and attitude matters, but we don't have a successful model for how it matters. (I'm deliberately avoiding a definition of "successful" here. Choose one from reliable/repeatable, makes accurate predictions, is practically useful for safety management). I put STAMP tangentially into that list because it is oriented more towards "practically useful" than "has explanatory power". Each model deserves to be evaluated against its own claims.

I'm not sure I buy this completely. Nancy already pointed to STAMP's distinctiveness. NAT focuses on accidents rather than the lack of them, as did Turner. Reason is a social psychologist first and foremost. HR(O/T) is its own thing.

Show me an organizational sociologist who interrogates seemingly successful socio-technical systems and I'll show you an HRO person.

Whether or not they accurately identify 'successful' systems or the organizational principles that contribute to those successes comes down to them as scholars, I suppose. There are plenty of differences on these issues within the HRT literature. It's true that most of the people we would immediately identify as HRO scholars broadly agree on some things (the value of redundancy, for instance), but I don't think that one has to agree with those things in order to call oneself an HRO scholar.

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systemsafety_at_xxxxxx Received on Mon Sep 23 2013 - 20:33:22 CEST

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