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Adaptation as a source of safety in complex socio-technical systems: A literature review and model development

Adaptation as a source of safety in complex socio-technical systems: A literature review and model development
Adaptation as a source of safety in complex socio-technical systems: A literature review and model development

Recent advances in safety science point towards a different approach to the management of risk within safety-related industries that focusses on successfully harnessing the adaptations present within complex socio-technical systems. However, adaptation is a concept with a variety of interpretations that impairs the ability of industrial practitioners to understand and apply this concept to the management of safety. We present a systematic review of the safety literature using a grounded theory approach from a variety of industrial domains and theoretical standpoints to identify the key features within complex socio-technical systems that describe how adaptation and safety are related. A model for adaptation, developed from these ideas, is then described. This model is then used to explain the response of UK oceanic air traffic controllers to the closure of US airspace following the terrorist attacks in the US on the 11th September 2001. The case study highlights how the model aids an enquiry into the features of adaptation that are present within complex socio-technical systems. The review also identifies the need for further research to assist industrial practitioners connect the role of adaptation at the level of the individual to the adaptive capacity at the level of the organisation.

Adaptation, Air traffic control, High reliability, Resilience, Safety
0925-7535
617-631
Foster, Craig J.
1663b2a9-229e-43f4-9ade-e09bdee9f313
Plant, Katherine L.
3638555a-f2ca-4539-962c-422686518a78
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd
Foster, Craig J.
1663b2a9-229e-43f4-9ade-e09bdee9f313
Plant, Katherine L.
3638555a-f2ca-4539-962c-422686518a78
Stanton, Neville A.
351a44ab-09a0-422a-a738-01df1fe0fadd

Foster, Craig J., Plant, Katherine L. and Stanton, Neville A. (2019) Adaptation as a source of safety in complex socio-technical systems: A literature review and model development. Safety Science, 118, 617-631. (doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2019.05.035).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Recent advances in safety science point towards a different approach to the management of risk within safety-related industries that focusses on successfully harnessing the adaptations present within complex socio-technical systems. However, adaptation is a concept with a variety of interpretations that impairs the ability of industrial practitioners to understand and apply this concept to the management of safety. We present a systematic review of the safety literature using a grounded theory approach from a variety of industrial domains and theoretical standpoints to identify the key features within complex socio-technical systems that describe how adaptation and safety are related. A model for adaptation, developed from these ideas, is then described. This model is then used to explain the response of UK oceanic air traffic controllers to the closure of US airspace following the terrorist attacks in the US on the 11th September 2001. The case study highlights how the model aids an enquiry into the features of adaptation that are present within complex socio-technical systems. The review also identifies the need for further research to assist industrial practitioners connect the role of adaptation at the level of the individual to the adaptive capacity at the level of the organisation.

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Literature Review FINAL with 2nd revisions 20190407 - Accepted Manuscript
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 23 May 2019
e-pub ahead of print date: 8 June 2019
Published date: 1 October 2019
Keywords: Adaptation, Air traffic control, High reliability, Resilience, Safety

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 436618
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/436618
ISSN: 0925-7535
PURE UUID: d57be245-13f6-447b-92b8-b83478e227bf
ORCID for Katherine L. Plant: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4532-2818
ORCID for Neville A. Stanton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8562-3279

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Dec 2019 17:30
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:14

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