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The Normative Dimensions of Institutional Stewardship: High Reliability, Institutional Constancy, Public Trust and Confidence

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Abstract

Todd LaPorte's contribution to knowledge about Hazardous Large Technical Systems (HLTS) and Critical Infrastructure (CI) systems has provided a way to place these systems in sociological context. The article describes LaPorte's development of the concept of Institutional Stewardship, as an amalgamation of High Reliability Organizations, Institutional Constancy, and Public Trust and Confidence has provided a way of understanding the enormous public challenges of managing and maintaining systems that create public vulnerabilities. The article suggests the development of the Vulnerability Principle as a way of bringing the requirement of Institutional Stewardship to the management of HLTs and CIs.

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... Nu mai târziu de începutul anului 2011, apare o lucrare (Egan, 2011) în care contribuţiile lui Todd LaPorte asupra sistemelor tehnice extinse (Hazardous Large Technical Systems (HLTS)) şi infrastructurilor critice (Critical Infrastructure (CI)) sunt discutate în termeni sociologici, în jurul conceptului de însoţire în instituţii (Institutional Stewardship). Acest concept este înţeles ca un cumul necesar de fidelitate instituţională, constanţă instituţională, răspundere instituţională şi încredere, pe care inclusiv consilierul şcolar le-ar putea exercita. ...
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partea şcolii şi a actului de învăţământ, cât şi empatic cu elevul. Nu este o sarcină uşoară, dar nu e nici imposibilă. În acest context, definirea problemei rezultă din întrebări precum: Cum poate juca consilierul şcolar un rol de catalizator în şcoală? Ce este necesar acestui om pentru a lega, de exemplu, puntea dintre elev, părinţi şi profesor, când, la mijloc, sunt orgolii şi alte afecte personale implicate? Ce tip de echipare mentală şi/sau emoţională îi este necesară pentru a identifica la timp, cu precizia unui ceas elveţian, care dintre elevii numiţi "talente" sunt în pericol să părăsească performanţa academică de rang superior datorită unei atitudini necontrolate a dascălului sau a unei metode academice neinspirat aplicată? Şi care este setul de indicatori la care consilierul şcolar recurge pentru a măsura eficienţa intervenţiilor sale în şcoală şi a asigura un mers stabil printre dunele mişcătoare ale fluctuaţiilor de stare ale copilului, ale problemelor inerente cu care vine dirigintele de acasă sau ale con-flictelor ce se pot naşte spontan, într-o recreaţie, în cancelarie şi care îl implică pe profesorul care tocmai se pregăteşte să intre la oră? Problema căreia încercăm să îi răspundem generează, prin nerezolvare, comportamente nedorite în rândul consilierilor şcolari şi conduce, în vreme, la decredibilizarea întregului concept de "consiliere şcolară". Manifestările pot fi multiple. Este o misiune aproape ingrată să îţi doreşti să discuţi, în cabinet, cu elevii care fac performanţă în clasă, ar putea spune profesorii care îi coordonează. Cei care, din nefericire, poate, nu văd un beneficiu în aceste întâlniri, tocmai pentru că se aşteaptă la un beneficiu imediat. Iar acesta nu poate veni instant.
... to complex socio-technical systems in emergency situations require 511 management and regulatory commitments that engender vulnerability(Egan 2011). While it 512 is clear that the dose-based approach used at Fukushima was insufficient to regulate the tragic513 choices that were made there, it has not been called into question in the nuclear field. ...
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In high-risk industries, the development of reliable safety systems has made it easy to forget that operators may one day be confronted with dramatic, life-threatening situations. This article examines one such catastrophe, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. It will shed light on the mechanisms at work in operators’ attempts to mitigate the disaster, even as they knew they would be exposed to a radioactive environment. Using available literature and official reports, it will show how the decision process used by workers to make tragic choices involving self-sacrifice unfolded within three orders of determination: institutional, organizational, and the field. While these regimes did help actors to make hard choices, we will show that they simultaneously created ethical blind spots. Just as the complexity and tight coupling of this high-risk industry leads to “normal accidents” (Perrow 1984), we argue that self-sacrifice in the wake of such accidents is masked by what we call “normal blindness,” which hides the underlying tragic choices actors must make. This article argues that normal blindness need not be inevitable, and that further exploration of and reflection on the ethical lessons of the Fukushima accident could help us to better prepare for such situations in the future.
... We found that the Presidential Policy Directive/PPD -21 on Critical Infrastructure Security and Resilience (Moteff, 2012) presented substance and language that was very similar to that of HRO; i.e., organizations which are critical must be reliable and resilient. We found that a number of authors in our population of records also correlated HRO and CI (de Bruijne and van Eeten, 2007;Egan, 2011;LaPorte, 2006;Oldreive et al., 2012). Hence, records were sorted based on the sixteen CI industry sectors, plus two extra categories for "academic" work and "general" when no specific CI sector was applicable. ...
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Since the inception of High Reliability Theory in 1981, researchers and practitioners have theorized about the questions, “How do you know if you're an HRO, and how do you validate it?” Evidence now exists that organizations seeking high reliability and resilience have moved away from the theoretical phase, and into the application phase where organizations adopt the HRO hallmarks plus culture as operational targets and create interventions to effect change. The evidence of high reliability operations in organizations is key for validating that HRO is implementable and is also beneficial. After collecting over 1400 artifacts, we found 34 scholarly efforts published which purposefully targeted implementation measures toward achieving an HRO state and measured the outcomes. From that evidence, we concluded that three specific interventions have been used which were useful and generalizable to guide practitioners in moving toward an HRO state: process redesign, training, and organization redesign. We suggest that this evidence may assert that organizations which are not functioning as an HRO can be redesigned to do so.
... While Perrow (1984) does not subscribe to the theory that organizations can prevent accidents, other researchers (La Porte, 2011;La Porte & Rochlin, 1994;Sagan 1994;Weick & Sutcliffe, 2001) argue that organizations can. High reliability theory suggests that organizations could become reliable by using a dedicated safety culture (Egan, 2011;La Porte, 2011). In fact, by using pervasive challenging and a questioning attitude, organizations can become highly reliable. ...
Article
Several extreme events are examined in this dissertation to better understand the implications of such events for expanding the existing knowledge of crisis leadership. Through interviews with leaders that had direct leadership roles in extreme events such as the Fukushima nuclear reactor explosions, Deepwater Horizon oilrig explosion, and Super Storm Sandy, in addition to national leadership, e.g. White House Situation Room, an in-depth, cross-case analysis of leadership in extreme crises is presented. Previous literature concludes that the abilities of leaders are second only to the cause of the event itself in determining the outcome of a disaster but due to the rarity of these events, there has been limited scholarly consideration of the implications of these events for leadership research and practice. Using an inductive, qualitative approach to analyze the interviews, the results lead to several conclusions. First, there is a need for this and additional research to clarify the meaning or unique challenges that define the characteristics of an extreme event crisis especially in the most extreme cases. Second, the importance of the effects of felt emotions including mortality salience on extreme leadership is profound on the thinking and actions of leaders in these events. Third, classic crisis management and leadership theories are insufficient for explaining the needed actions in responding to extreme events. These conclusions were integrated with prior research to develop a model of crisis leadership based on a continuum of crisis events from routine to extreme. This model is developed around six leadership concepts either identified in prior research or developed based on the findings of this study. The model also identifies threshold points where routine crisis events become more extreme. At these threshold points the demands on all actors in the event, especially the leaders, become more non-linear and can result in great emotional influences on sensemaking and subsequent decision making. This dissertation concludes that leadership in this context can almost exclusively be focused on life-saving, and instinctual or emotional responses. Further the differences between leadership in dangerous military and non-military domains are examined. The implication of these findings for practitioners and future researchers is also discussed.
... These organizations institutionalize mechanisms that promote rapid awareness and local resilience, a powerful combination that allows an organization to localize and compartmentalize a developing disaster, while at the same time communicating the nature of the failure (and the actions taken) to other parts of the organization. HRT scholars also pay explicit attention to the institutional environment of these reliable organizations (Egan, 2011; LaPorte, 2011). They emphasize that organizations can only accomplish a track record of reliability if their political patrons provide them with the necessary means and support. ...
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An adequate assessment of crisis management failure (and success) requires a validated causal theory. Without such a theory, any assessment of crisis management performance amounts to little more than a “just so” story. This is the key argument of this paper, which describes how hindsight biases and selective use of social science theory gave rise to a suggestive and convincing – but not necessarily correct – assessment of NASA's role in the Columbia space shuttle disaster (1 February 2003). The Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) identified NASA's organizational culture and safety system as a primary source of failure. The CAIB report reads as a stunning indictment of organizational incompetence: the organization that thrilled the world with the Apollo project had “lost” its safety culture and failed to prevent a preventable disaster. This paper examines the CAIB findings in light of the two dominant theoretical schools that address organizational disasters (normal accident and high reliability theory). It revisits the Columbia shuttle disaster and concludes that the CAIB findings do not sit well with the insights of these schools.“The Board believes that the Shuttle Program should have been able to detect the foam trend and more fully appreciate the danger it represented” (CAIB, 2003:189–190).“So today, we may be not willing to take any risk, but in that case, you can’t fly because there is always going to be risk […] You have got to expect that you are going to have failures in the future” (George Mueller, cited in Logsdon, 1999:26).
... Todd LaPorte has always said that he was open to discuss any issues that managers, employees or regulators wanted to take up, but that he believed that the role of an academic was to develop and foster knowledge on these complex socio-technical systems, not to design any specific organization or procedure. He likes adopting the 'stewardee''s point of view [see Jude Egan's (2011) ...
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What happens when fire strikes the manufacturing plant of the sole supplier for the brake pressure valve used in every Toyota? When a hurricane shuts down production at a Unilever plant? When Dell and Apple chip manufacturers in Taiwan take weeks to recover from an earthquake? When the U.S. Pacific ports are shut down during the Christmas rush? When terrorists strike? In The Resilient Enterprise, Yossi Sheffi shows that companies' fortunes in the face of such business shocks depend more on choices made before the disruption than they do on actions taken in the midst of it—and that resilience benefits firms every day, disaster or no disaster. He shows how companies can build in flexibility throughout their supply chains, based on proven design principles and the right culture—balancing security, redundancy, and short-term profits. And he shows how investments in resilience and flexibility not only reduce risk but create a competitive advantage in the increasingly volatile marketplace. Sheffi describes the way companies can increase security—reducing the likelihood of a disruption—with layered defenses, the tracking and analysis of “near-misses,” fast detection, and close collaboration with government agencies, trading partners, and even competitors. But the focus of the book is on resilience—the ability to bounce back from disruptions and disasters—by building in redundancy and flexibility. For example, standardization, modular design, and collaborative relationships with suppliers (and other stakeholders) can help create a robust supply chain. And a corporate culture of flexibility—with distributed decision making and communications at all levels—can create a resilient enterprise. Sheffi provides tools for companies to reduce the vulnerability of the supply chain they live in. And along the way he tells the stories of dozens of enterprises, large and small, including Toyota, Nokia, General Motors, Zara, Land Rover, Chiquita, Aisin Seiki, Southwest Airlines, UPS, Johnson and Johnson, Intel, Amazon.com, the U.S. Navy, and others, from across the globe. Their successes, failures, preparations, and methods provide a rich set of lessons in preparing for and managing disruptions.
Earning Public Trust and Confidence Requisite for Managing Radioactive Wastes. Final Report, Task Force on Radioactive Waste Management
  • T R Laporte
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LaPorte, T.R. and Metlay, D.S. (1993), Earning Public Trust and Confidence Requisite for Managing Radioactive Wastes. Final Report, Task Force on Radioactive Waste Management, Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, Washington, DC.
Ethical Issues in the Law of Tort Risk Society: Toward a New ModernityAssuring High Reliability of Service Provision in Critical Infra-structures
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A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and ThereThe Science of ''Muddling Through
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Leopold, A. (1948), A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There, Oxford University Press, New York. Lindblom, C.E. (1959), 'The Science of ''Muddling Through''', Public Administration Review, Volume 19, Number 2, pp. 79–88.
Stewardship and the Design of 'Future Friendly' Technologies: Avoiding Operational Strain in Nuclear Materials Management at Scale, Final Report: UCB, LANL Institutional Stewardship Studies
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The Challenge of Understanding Large Technical Systems
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LaPorte, T.R. (1991), 'The Challenge of Understanding Large Technical Systems', in LaPorte, T.R. (eds.), Social Responses to Large Technical Systems: Control or Anticipation, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, the Netherlands, pp. 1–4.
The Self- Designing High-Reliability Organization: Aircraft Carrier Flight Operations at Sea', Naval War College Review
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Hazards and Institutional Trustworthiness
  • LaPorte
Anticipating Future Vulnerability
  • Egan
Stewardship and the Design of ‘Future Friendly’ Technologies: Avoiding Operational Strain in Nuclear Materials Management at Scale
  • T R Laporte
Working in Practice but not in Theory
  • LaPorte
Assuring Institutional Constancy
  • LaPorte
Technologies as Systems and Networks
  • LaPorte
The Self-Designing High-Reliability Organization
  • Rochlin
Designing Infrastructures
  • Schulman