Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management

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Volume 16 Issue 3 (September 2008), Pages 121-171

Safety Cultural Preconditions for Organizational Learning in High‐Risk Organizations (pages 154-163)

The research on organizational accidents shows that both safety culture and complex technology make members of high‐risk organizations blind to hazards and signals of danger. I discuss how these forms of ignorance can be reduced by means of cultural redundancy, which I understand as the organizational promotion of several co‐existing frames of reference of equal standing. This approach is contrary to the main stream research on safety culture, which promotes the ideal of a ‘unitary safety culture’. Previous research shows that organizational learning occur trough comparison of perspectives and reflection upon practice. I argue that cultural redundancy is a precondition for processes of learning and culture change that may reduce ignorance to hazards and signals of danger in high‐risk organizations. Such processes are, however, contingent on a climate of trust and openness in which co‐existing safety cultures can meet and set forth processes of organizational learning.

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