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Weick and Sutcliffe's Principles of HROs

Like Roberts and Rousseau, Weick and Sutcliffe, two other pioneers in HRO research, also studied nuclear aircraft carriers, hostage negotiation teams, and wildland firefighting crews. They developed a model, with a focus on mindfulness, for HROs based on the distinctive features of the organizations. Mindfulness is "a rich awareness of discriminatory details." 1 That is, HROs should have a detailed understanding of rising threats and on causes that interfere with such understanding. With mindfulness they see the significance in weak signals and take action vigorously.

>Their model explains how teams interact with each other and their environment to achieve high reliability. The researchers point out that HROs do not necessary see discrepancies more quickly; rather they understand their meaning more fully and deal with them more confidently. (Weick et al 2007) Five principles divided into two categories, anticipation and containment. Describe HROs. In anticipation, the first category, HROs focus on the prevention of disruptive unexpected events, while in containment they work to prevent unwanted outcomes after unexpected events have occurred. 1

Characteristics of HROs


There are three principles in anticipation:


The second category in Weick and Sutcliffe's model is containment. HROs admit that unexpected events sometimes happen so they move into containment to prevent unwanted outcomes after an unexpected event has occurred. As Weick and Sutcliffe state, "Reliable outcomes require the capabilities to sense the unexpected in a stable manner and yet deal with the unexpected in a variable manner."1 The two principles in containment are:


1. Weick, Karl and Katherine Sutcliffe. 2007. Managing the Unexpected: Resilient Performance in the Age of Uncertainty. 2nd ed. San Francisco:John Wiley &Sons, Inc.