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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2021

Ahmad Ghaith, Huimin Ma and Ashraf W. Labib

High-reliability performance and high-hazard are intertwined in High-Reliability Organizations (HROs) operations; these organizations are highly safe, highly hazardous and…

Abstract

Purpose

High-reliability performance and high-hazard are intertwined in High-Reliability Organizations (HROs) operations; these organizations are highly safe, highly hazardous and highly significant for the modern society, not only for the valuable resources they have, but also the indispensable services they provide. This research intend to understand how HROs could produce high quality performance despite their challenging and demanding contexts. The research followed an emic approach to develop an organizational framework that reflects the contribution of the seeming traits of the organizations to the operations safety based on the workers point of views about the safety of workstations.

Design/methodology/approach

This research adopted mixed methods of in-depth interviews and literature review to identify the structural characteristics of high-reliability organizations (HROs) embedded in the organizations studies and developed a theoretical based structural framework for HROs. Furthermore, a systemic literature review was adopted to find the evidence from the organizations literature for the identified characteristics from the interviews from the first stage. The setting for this study is six Chinese power stations, four stations in Hubei province central China and two stations in the southern China Guangdong province.

Findings

The organizational framework is a key determinant to achieve high-reliability performance; however, solely it cannot explain how HROs manage the risks of hazard events and operate safely in high-hazard environments. High-reliability performance is attributed to the interaction between two sets of determinants of safety and hazard. The findings of this research indicate that HROs systems would be described as reliable or hazardous depending on the tightly coupled setting, complexity, bureaucracy involvement and dynamicity within the systems from one hand, and safety orientation, failure intolerance, systemwide processing, the institutional setting and the employment of redundant systems on other hand.

Originality/value

The authors developed an organizational framework of organizing the safety work in HROs. The applied method of interviewing and literature review was not adopted in any other researches.

Details

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, vol. 39 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0265-671X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 August 2018

Peter F. Martelli, Peter E. Rivard and Karlene H. Roberts

Given the pace of industry change and the rapid diffusion of high reliability organization (HRO) approaches, lags and divergences have arisen between research and practice…

Abstract

Purpose

Given the pace of industry change and the rapid diffusion of high reliability organization (HRO) approaches, lags and divergences have arisen between research and practice in healthcare. The purpose of this paper is to explore several of these theory-practice gaps and propose implications for research and practice.

Design/methodology/approach

Classic and cutting-edge HRO literature is applied to analyze two industry trends: delivery system integration, and the confluence of patient-as-consumer and patient-centered care.

Findings

Highly reliable integrated delivery systems will likely function very differently from classic HRO organizations. Both practitioners and researchers should address conditions such as how a system is bounded, how reliable the system should be and how interdependencies are handled. Additionally, systems should evaluate the added uncertainty and variability introduced by enhanced agency on the part of patients/families in decision making and in processes of care.

Research limitations/implications

Dramatic changes in the sociotechnical environment are influencing the coupling and interactivity of system elements in healthcare. Researchers must address the maintenance of reliability across organizations and the migration of decision-making power toward patients and families.

Practical implications

As healthcare systems integrate, managers attempting to apply HRO principles must recognize how these systems present new and different reliability-related challenges and opportunities.

Originality/value

This paper provides a starting point for the advancement of research and practice in high-reliability healthcare by providing an in-depth exploration of the implications of two major industry trends.

Details

Journal of Health Organization and Management, vol. 32 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7266

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 22 May 2009

Victor Dos Santos Paulino

The adaptation perspective dominates the issue of organizational change and assumes that organizational inertia increases organizational mortality. This assumption is…

2296

Abstract

Purpose

The adaptation perspective dominates the issue of organizational change and assumes that organizational inertia increases organizational mortality. This assumption is inadequate to analyze organizational change in risky activities. The purpose of this paper is to underline the relevance of organizational inertia when organizations face risky environments.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual framework was built that combines the adaptation and selection perspectives from the evolutionary approach and the highreliability organizations literature and apply it to space activities.

Findings

First, it was found that to prevent catastrophic failures, space organizations reproduce routines validated in previous successful programs, which leads to situations of organizational inertia; and second, the opposing perspectives of selection and adaptation become complementary when the author focus on the level of risk faced by organizations.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on space organizations and not more general types of organizations. However, the findings could be generalized to organizations manufacturing complex products and systems.

Originality/value

The originality of the paper is based on the new empirical and theoretical frameworks provided to analyze organizational inertia. Organizational inertia may be a satisfying response to environments favoring organizations with high levels of reliability. This new way of viewing inertia would be of value to scholars studying organizations in which errors can have catastrophic consequences.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 22 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 April 2018

Jessica L. Ford

The purpose of this paper is to complicate and critique contemporary scholarship on high-reliability organizations (HROs). This paper argues that although HRO scholarship…

1064

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to complicate and critique contemporary scholarship on high-reliability organizations (HROs). This paper argues that although HRO scholarship helps to identify communicative patterns that facilitate reliability and safety, it also simplifies processes that undermine the effectiveness of existing recommendations for HROs.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper frames high-reliability organizing as the enactment of mindfulness, which is the theoretical mechanism behind each of the five principles of high-reliability organizing. Using this framework, this paper then elaborates on each of the HRO principles: preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify interpretations, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience, and deference to expertise.

Findings

This paper details how research guided by HRO theory must address the following obstacles to safety and resilience: information accessibility limiting preoccupation with failure, identity constructions encouraging the simplification of interpretations, message fatigue repressing sensitivity to operations, the information environment within HROs weakening commitment to resilience, and generational differences impeding deference to expertise.

Originality/value

This paper highlights key issues obstructing safety and reliability in organizations that have been largely ignored by extant literature and encourages scholars to do more to acknowledge the role communication plays in constituting and reconstituting organizational reliability. Failing to fully address complex communicative interactions in HROs obstructs efforts to safeguard employee health and safety.

Details

Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1356-3289

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 27 May 2014

Evan H. Offstein, Raymond Kniphuisen, D. Robin Bichy and J. Stephen Childers Jr

Recent lapses in the management of high hazard organizations, such as the Fukushima event or the Deepwater Horizon blast, add considerable urgency to better understand the…

Abstract

Purpose

Recent lapses in the management of high hazard organizations, such as the Fukushima event or the Deepwater Horizon blast, add considerable urgency to better understand the complicated and complex phenomena of leading and managing high reliability organizations (HRO). The purpose of this paper is to offer both theoretical and practical insight to further strengthen reliability in high hazard organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Phenomenological study based on over three years of research and thousands of hours of study in HROs conducted through a scholar-practitioner partnership.

Findings

The findings indicate that the identification and the management of competing tensions arising from misalignment within and between public policy, organizational strategy, communication, decision-making, organizational learning, and leadership is the critical factor in explaining improved reliability and safety of HROs.

Research limitations/implications

Stops short of full-blown grounded theory. Steps were made to ensure validity; however, generalizability may be limited due to sample.

Practical implications

Provides insight into reliably operating organizations that are crucial to society where errors would cause significant damage or loss.

Originality/value

Extends high reliability research by investigating more fully the competing tensions present in these complex, societally crucial organizations.

Details

American Journal of Business, vol. 29 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1935-5181

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 23 November 2021

Maryam Memar Zadeh and Nicole Haggerty

Long-term care (LTC) organizations have struggled to protect their vulnerable clients from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although various suggestions on containing…

Abstract

Purpose

Long-term care (LTC) organizations have struggled to protect their vulnerable clients from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although various suggestions on containing outbreaks in LTC facilities have gained prominence, ensuring the safety of residents is not just a crisis issue. In that context, the authors must reasses the traditional management practices that were not sufficient for handling unexpected and demanding conditions. The purpose of this paper is to suggest rethinking the underlying attributes of LTC organizations and drawing insight from the parallels they have to high-reliability organizations (HROs).

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed qualitative data collected from a Canadian LTC facility to shed light on the current state of reliability practices and culture of the LTC industry and to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the traditional management approaches.

Findings

To help the LTC industry develop the necessary crisis management capacity to tackle unexpected future challenges, there is an urgent need for adopting a more systemic top-down approach that cultivates mindfulness, learning and resilience.

Originality/value

This study contributes by applying the HRO theoretical lens in the LTC context. The study provides the LTC leaders with insights into creating a unified effort at the industry level to give rise to a high-reliability-oriented industry.

Details

Leadership in Health Services, vol. 35 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1879

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 4 March 2020

Victor Meyer Jr, Miguel Piña e Cunha, Diórgenes Falcão Mamédio and Danillo Prado Nogueira

The focus of this study was to analyze crisis management in a context of high-reliability organizations (HRO) evidenced in two cases of Brazilian air disasters. Aspects of…

Abstract

Purpose

The focus of this study was to analyze crisis management in a context of high-reliability organizations (HRO) evidenced in two cases of Brazilian air disasters. Aspects of human and technological natures were examined, addressing the complex sociotechnical system.

Design/methodology/approach

This in-depth case study addressed the two most serious air disasters on Brazilian territory. The first case involved a midair collision between Gol Flight 1907 and the Legacy jet. In the second case, TAM flight 3054 had difficulty braking when landing at the airport and crashed into a building. Data were collected from official disaster documents.

Findings

The results revealed that the management and operational activities aimed to maintain the necessary conditions that prioritize a high level of reliability. High reliability mainly involves concern over failure, reluctance to accept simplified interpretations, sensitivity to operations, commitment to resilience and detailed structure specifications.

Practical implications

The implications are based on alerting highly reliable organizations, emphasizing the focus on managing more reliably, resiliently and conscientiously. Changes will be required in the operations of organizations seeking to learn to manage unexpected events and respond quickly to continually improve the responsiveness of their services.

Originality/value

In the perspective of an intrinsic case study for crisis management in a context of HRO and disaster risk management, the originality of this study lies in its examination of the paradoxical nature of control within the systems of dangerous operations in complex organizations, as well as their contradictions in a high-reliability system.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management: An International Journal, vol. 30 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 August 2014

Ian Hipkin

Catastrophic failures in high-reliability installations result from technical and human factors. The purpose of this paper is to use reports of the BP Texas refinery…

Abstract

Purpose

Catastrophic failures in high-reliability installations result from technical and human factors. The purpose of this paper is to use reports of the BP Texas refinery accident and the UK Buncefield oil storage explosions as the basis for exploring how protection and safety are managed in high-reliability manufacturing organisations in South Africa.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey of 21 high-reliability firms was undertaken to establish how firms perceived their safety and protection systems in relation to the findings of the Buncefield and BP Texas accidents. Interviews were held with staff in two firms.

Findings

The study identifies technical and behavioural shortcomings in managing safety and protective systems in manufacturing organisations. There are profound differences in perceptions of managers, supervisors and operators regarding a number of safety-related factors. Firms fail to identify all protective systems. Essential failure data for determining appropriate policies for failure finding are not collected.

Research limitations/implications

Quantitative results are based on a relatively small sample and qualitative perspectives derive from two case studies.

Practical implications

Managers are unsure how protective devices should be managed. The paper highlights areas where significant improvements are essential if the South African firms are to meet developed world standards.

Social implications

High-reliability organisations are obliged to minimise the possibility of serious incidents whose consequences may extend far beyond the physical bounds of the organisation.

Originality/value

Limited research has been published on the management of protective systems. This paper highlights a number of technical and behavioural issues that should be addressed for safe operation of high-reliability manufacturing organisations.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 25 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2014

Mohammad Mahdavi Mazdeh and Roozbeh Hesamamiri

Although the topic of knowledge management (KM) failure has emerged over the past several years, no specific theory has been proposed about the ability of an organization

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Abstract

Purpose

Although the topic of knowledge management (KM) failure has emerged over the past several years, no specific theory has been proposed about the ability of an organization to discover and manage unexpected failures in the organizational capabilities of KM. Thus, the main aim of this paper is to develop a theory of KM reliability by taking into account the availability of existing theory of high reliability for organizations. Furthermore, this study aims to empirically evaluate the impact of a reliable KM on organizational performance by developing a reliability measurement instrument.

Design/methodology/approach

The study develops and tests a theoretical framework whereby the reliable KM is supported on its reliability aspects and organizational performance on its financial, process, and internal aspects. Based on a questionnaire, data were obtained from a sample of 254 companies in North America. The measurement model was tested and confirmed by using structural equation modeling (SEM).

Findings

The results show that the reliable KM has a multi-dimensional structure as described by the proposed theoretical framework. Additionally, the results underscore the importance of KM reliability in creating conditions favorable for a firm's success.

Practical implications

It was verified that the reliable KM affects the measures of organizational performance, including financial, process, and internal performance. This is useful for researchers and executives looking for appropriate outcomes through the implementation of KM initiatives. Furthermore, this study provides a starting point for further research on KM reliability.

Originality/value

This study claims that a key to successful KM is to create a cognitive infrastructure that enables simultaneous adaptive learning and provides an organizational reliability infrastructure through the management of unwanted, unanticipated, and unexplainable failures in the KM's required capabilities.

Article
Publication date: 17 May 2013

Evan H. Offstein, Raymond Kniphuisen, D. Robin Bichy and J. Stephen Childers

In light of and due to the spike in concern regarding high hazard industries, in general, and nuclear power plants (NPPs) in particular, resulting from the Japanese…

1002

Abstract

Purpose

In light of and due to the spike in concern regarding high hazard industries, in general, and nuclear power plants (NPPs) in particular, resulting from the Japanese earthquake and crisis at Fukushima, the purpose of this paper is to offer an innovative organizational development (OD) intervention that may enhance safety and operational performance directed at these critical organizations.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on and integrating key elements of strategy, leadership coaching and development and assessment, the authors describe and detail an intervention designed to bring a troubled NPP to a state of reliability.

Findings

It was found that performance improved in a relatively short amount of time from implementing this OD tool.

Practical implications

The findings contained herein may apply to any organization aiming to improve on safety and operational performance.

Originality/value

The paper's findings should appeal to high hazard and high reliability organizations, such as those found within the energy industry, that must continuously strive toward improved operational and safety performance.

Details

Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 26 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0953-4814

Keywords

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