Promoting safety through resilient organization managers: Different ways of being resilient

Abstract: Recent views about safety and human factors suggest the major challenge for current theories, models and frameworks is to handle what Weick and Sutcliffe (2007) correctly defined as “dynamic non-events”. This led researchers to develop a new way to think about system safety: resilience. According to Hollnagel et al. (2011), “A system is resilient if it can adjust its functioning prior to, during, or following events (changes, disturbances, and opportunities), and thereby sustain required operations under both expected and unexpected conditions.”
The main ingredient for resilience is, in our view, the capacity to notice, communicate and manage weak signals, before they transform themselves into strong and negative outcomes.
This ability requires the capacity of front-line operators to notice anomalous situations, to foresee possible outcomes of behaviors that are “normally deviant”, to understand the coupling between procedures, technology and organization, and how they could bias operators behavior. In addition, it requires the operators to be able to communicate these weak signals, which can only be enabled within a just and fair culture (Dekker, 2012) and the adequate organizational background capable of managing these reported issues and of learning from them.