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Types and status of high reliability practices in the US federal wildland fire community


Black, Anne E. 2012. Types and status of high reliability practices in the US federal wildland fire community. In: Fox, R. L., ed. Proceedings of the 3rd Human Dimensions of Wildland Fire Conference; April 17-19 2012; Seattle, Washington. International Association of Wildland Fire. p. 147.

Since emerging in the late 1980s, the paradigm of High Reliability Organizing (HRO) has sought to describe how and why certain organizations consistently function safely under hazardous conditions. Researchers have explored a variety of industrial situations, from the early observations of nuclear aircraft carrier operations to nursing units and even high-tech IPOs. The bulk of this research has been descriptive rather than comparative or predictive. Still, or perhaps because of this, there has been a robust and enriching academic discussion through which the paradigm has been refined and new research needs articulated. Of particular interest for the international fire community seem to be the debates concerning how 'error' is viewed, and the implications for considering how to improve safety, reliability, resilience and/or human performance. These debates appear to be on the verge of illuminating how the concepts interconnect - practically and theoretically. Another key research agenda has focused on exploring the relationships between HRO and other human relations practices in an effort to understand how social dynamics underpin enumerated HRO practices (such as Weick and Sutcliffe's five principles: 'deference to expertise', 'reluctance to simplify', 'preoccupation with failure', 'sensitivity to operations' and 'commitment to resilience'), and the extent to which these practices are shared across industries.

Keywords: High Reliability Organizing (HRO)


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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Types and status of high reliability practices in the US federal wildland fire community
Electronic Publish Date: September 17, 2013
Last Update:
September 17, 2013

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