University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Engineering Design Centre Seminars  > Designing Organisational High-Reliability? Aviation, healthcare and complex safety-critical systems

Designing Organisational High-Reliability? Aviation, healthcare and complex safety-critical systems

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Can safe organisations be designed? From airlines to banks, and from hospitals to power plants, modern economies depend on a range of complex systems that can cause catastrophic harm when they fail. Designing organisations that can handle failure gracefully, and respond resiliently to disruptions, is therefore one of the primary objectives in many safety-critical industries. Drawing on research in aviation and healthcare, this presentation will explore some of the practical strategies that are used in reliability-seeking organisations to transform moments of risk into sources of resilience. These practical strategies, and the institutional arrangements that support them, indicate that high reliability organisations focus considerable resources on continually reflecting on, and redesigning, organisational practice itself. These findings will be used to consider the implications for embedding practical processes of organisational design in risk management systems.

This talk is part of the Engineering Design Centre Seminars series.

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