Monday, July 27, 2009

Organizational Learning (MIT #2)

The central question posed in the MIT paper is: What are the contributors to an organization’s ability to learn and sustain a robust safety culture?  According to the authors, “Here, the focus shifts from prescribing elements of an effective safety culture to managers to an examination of why it is that organizations so often fail to learn…. instead of focusing on enforcement, individuals might question why the rules were not originally followed” [p. 4]  In our paper “Practicing Nuclear Safety Management” we ask the same question.  I have reviewed the presentation materials from the NRC’s safety culture meetings earlier this year.  There is almost total emphasis on actions such as safety culture surveys to assess the state of the organization and various remedial measures to correct any deviations from prescribed rules, but no real questioning of what causes personnel to disregard established safety expectations.

If any readers can provide examples, e.g., presentation materials or assessments, where nuclear organizations have attempted to answer the question “Why?”, please provide a comment below along with appropriate links to the references.  It would greatly help the discussion.

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