Monday, August 3, 2009

Reading List: Just Culture by Sidney Dekker

Thought I would share with you a relatively recent addition to the safety management system bookshelf, Just Culture by Sidney Dekker, Professor of Human Factors and System Safety at Lund University in Sweden.  In Dekker’s view a “just culture” is critical for the creation of safety culture.  A just culture will not simply assign blame in response to a failure or problem, it will seek to use accountability as a means to understand the system-based contributors to failure and resolve those in a manner that will avoid recurrence.  One of the reasons we believe so strongly in safety simulation is the emphasis on system-based understanding, including a shared organizational mental model of how safety management happens.  One reviewer (D. Sillars) of this book on the website summarizes, “’Just culture’ is an abstract phrase, which in practice, means . . . getting to an account of failure that can both satisfy demands for accountability while contributing to learning and improvement.” 

Question for nuclear professionals:  Does your organization maintain a library of resources such as Just Culture or Dianne Vaughan’s book, The Challenger Launch Decision, that provide deep insights into organizational performance and culture?  Are materials like this routinely the subject of discussions in training sessions and topical meetings?

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