Safety and Cooperation in Complex Organizations

Friday, 20 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Olivier GUILLAUME, EDF Lab, France
Complex organizations with coupled and automated systems would lead to "normal accidents", according to C. Perrow. Whereas, for the theories of the High Reliability Organizations (HRO), the social system contains these difficulties and makes organizations safe through decentralized expertise, learning or collective functioning. But these theories do not describe or finely understand these collective phenomena. Other approaches emphasize the a priori and optimized coordination and coordination of collective functioning (theories of coordination and negotiation), routine operations governed by autonomous rules (Reynaud and Terssac's theories of regulation), or collective comprehension in order to deal with serious and unknown events (Sensemaking by K. Weick). Meanwhile, between anticipation by coordination and reaction to unusual events thanks to the "solidarity group", there is cooperation that needs to be detailed in order to understand the construction of safety and its culture. Cooperation is based on the intentional and coordinated participation of the members of a group in order to carry out a common action in which everyone derives a benefit whose gain is greater than that which each individual can secure. Cooperation partnerships do not determine in advance the nature and extent of the resources to be provided or the precise moments of their pooling. Therefore cooperation involves a process of donation that is not totally free. The personal investment is partly free because individuals hope that the collective project will be successful. The contributions are nonetheless unequal. In order to avoid a feeling of non-equivalence, contributors need that their contributions are publicly displayed. Moreover cooperation involves relationships of trust, recognition and collective comprehension, which can be organized around spaces of discussion. These points will be developed in this communication and will allow a theoretical lesson in order to understand the construction of the safety and performance in complex organizations.