Operational Decision-Making in High-Hazard Organizations

Dr Jan Hayes
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Drawing a line in the sand

This book describes research on safety-related decision-making by operations supervisory personnel in three different high-hazard industries, and features a case study illustrating each: a chemical plant, a nuclear power station and an air-navigation service provider.A large body of research about industrial decision-making already exists, but the focus is almost invariably control-room operators, field staff and other frontline personnel. Another large body of research about managerial decision-making covers strategic issues. The focus of this research is quite different and unique: those who supervise the frontline personnel and essentially provide the organizational link between senior management and minute-by-minute system operations.

  • Contents: Foreword; Preface; Introduction; Theoretical perspectives on making safe decisions; Part A Decision-Making in Three High Reliability Organizations: At the nuclear power station - ‘We put a line in the sand’; At the chemical plant - ‘If it’s not safe, we don’t do it’; Air traffic control - ‘When you kick a ball, you don’t know where it’s going to land’. Part B Acting Both as Employees and as Professionals: Decision-making and identity; Rules and compliance; Professionals at work; Professional relationships; Decisions, risks and barriers; Creating environments for better decision-making; References; Index.

  • About the Author: Jan Hayes has 25 years’ experience in safety and risk management. She holds a Senior Research Fellow appointment at the Australian National University where she is Program Leader for the social science research activities of the Energy Pipelines Co-operative Research Centre. Dr Hayes is a member of the Advisory Board of the Australian National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority.

    Review: "This book is an enormously valuable addition to the literature on high reliability organizations."
    Andrew Hopkins, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, Australian National University, Canberra

Publication Date May 28 2013