Developing smart and safe organizations: An evolutionary approach

Nadezhda Gotcheva, G. Watts, Pia Oedewald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: This paper proposes an evolutionary approach to developing smart and safe organizations based on an alignment of two frameworks, an integrated safety culture model and an intelligent organizational systems model. It argues that diversity of propensities, defined as innate tendencies in individuals or groups to behave in particular ways shapes the potential for growth and evolution of organizations. It highlights the critical role of human systems and leadership in maintaining coherence and dealing with the challenges of increased complexity as organizations evolve.

Design/methodology/approach: The paper aligns the Intelligent Organizational Systems (IOS) evolutionary model and the Design for Integrated Safety Culture (DISC) model to describe evolutionary development of safety practice in organizations. The result is an ‘evolution matrix’, that reveal the links between safety performance and organizational evolution.

Findings: Development of an organization's capacity for safety consciousness through diversification of propensities and different cohering leadership capabilities gives organizations a new way of improving safety.

Practical implications: The evolution matrix can be used by leaders to systematically assess and enhance system capacity for addressing safety challenges.

Originality/value: The paper represents the first attempt at exploring the conscious development of safety‐critical organizations from an evolutionary perspective. It advances understanding of how organizations can evolve safely within ever‐changing environments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-97
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Organizational Analysis
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fingerprint

Safety
Evolutionary
Propensity
Integrated
Safety culture
Alignment
Consciousness
Safety performance
Diversification
Evolutionary models
Design methodology
System model
Organizational evolution

Keywords

  • organization
  • evolution
  • leadership
  • propensities
  • safety
  • safety-critical organizations
  • continual improvement
  • organizational performance

Cite this

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title = "Developing smart and safe organizations: An evolutionary approach",
abstract = "Purpose: This paper proposes an evolutionary approach to developing smart and safe organizations based on an alignment of two frameworks, an integrated safety culture model and an intelligent organizational systems model. It argues that diversity of propensities, defined as innate tendencies in individuals or groups to behave in particular ways shapes the potential for growth and evolution of organizations. It highlights the critical role of human systems and leadership in maintaining coherence and dealing with the challenges of increased complexity as organizations evolve.Design/methodology/approach: The paper aligns the Intelligent Organizational Systems (IOS) evolutionary model and the Design for Integrated Safety Culture (DISC) model to describe evolutionary development of safety practice in organizations. The result is an ‘evolution matrix’, that reveal the links between safety performance and organizational evolution.Findings: Development of an organization's capacity for safety consciousness through diversification of propensities and different cohering leadership capabilities gives organizations a new way of improving safety.Practical implications: The evolution matrix can be used by leaders to systematically assess and enhance system capacity for addressing safety challenges.Originality/value: The paper represents the first attempt at exploring the conscious development of safety‐critical organizations from an evolutionary perspective. It advances understanding of how organizations can evolve safely within ever‐changing environments.",
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Developing smart and safe organizations : An evolutionary approach. / Gotcheva, Nadezhda; Watts, G.; Oedewald, Pia.

In: International Journal of Organizational Analysis, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2013, p. 83-97.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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