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

From: Andrew Rae < >
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 10:04:21 +0100

Fair enough. If HRO has diversified to the point where it is a subfield (and I'm not disagreeing that this may be the case) then any short attempt to characterise it such as my own is going to be over-simplistic.

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On 23 September 2013 19:33, John Downer <johndowner2_at_xxxxxx

> 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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