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Just culture : balancing safety and accountability

by Sidney Dekker

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Top 5 Operational Safety Reading for High Reliability Organizations   (2010-10-16)


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by kentblair

I got Sidney's book from Ashgate a couple of weeks back. Never thought to check it out from the Library as Captain Sullenberger did. Those Captains think in multiple dimensions! I just finished it and it will be an essential text to guide organizations through the establishment of a functional safety management system (SMS). SMS will not prosper if you do not have sound policy, robust reporting, comprehensive risk management and a quality assurance and audit program. The only way to optimize those programs is to have an open and honest organizational reporting culture.

The "just culture" philosophy asks thought provoking questions of how society treats failure with blame, when instead accountability should be used proactively and collaboratively to improve a system and prevent future mishaps. A "zero-defect" mentality is not reality, in any organization or society. In a just culture we can share information to educate an organization, and industry, a nation and prevent mistakes that cost lives and damage property.

Just Culture discusses the option of working together to make each others' lives better, to look out for one another. The last chapter is especially germane, as it offers a model approach to building a just culture at home, in your organization and in your country. Sidney's book will answer the many nagging questions that you have about how and why we hold people responsible for failures of a system.

Kent Lewis
Captain USMC (Retired)
Signal Charlie

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