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Principles of adaptive management in complex safety-critical organizations
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, Philosophy.
2015 (English)In: Safety Science, ISSN 0925-7535, Vol. 71, 80-92 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper contributes to safety management by bringing in ideas from organizational complexity theories. Much of the studies and the literature on organizations as complex adaptive systems have focused on how to produce new innovations or how to increase financial effectiveness. We take the view that safety-critical organizations can be perceived as complex adaptive systems, and we discuss what this means for the management of safety. Our aim is to elaborate on the issue of what kinds of principles the management of safety should be based on in complex adaptive systems. In brief, we suggest that safety management should be adaptive, building on several different principles. Based on literature on complex adaptive systems we first identify the general features of complex adaptive systems, such as self-organizing and non-linearity, which need to be considered in management. Based on the features of complex adaptive systems, we define eight key principles of adaptive safety management and illustrate usefulness of the principles in making sense of the practice of safety management.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 71, 80-92 p.
Keyword [en]
Safety management, Systems thinking, Complex adaptive systems, Complexity theory
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-159984DOI: 10.1016/j.ssci.2014.07.021ISI: 000347754300003ScopusID: 2-s2.0-84918514189OAI: diva2:790791

QC 20150225

Available from: 2015-02-25 Created: 2015-02-12 Last updated: 2015-02-25Bibliographically approved

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