Operators' orientations to procedure guidance in NPP process control

Leena Norros (Corresponding Author), Marja Liinasuo, Paula Savioja

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Resilience in nuclear power plant (NPP) process control depends, among other things, on balance between operators' autonomy in online decisions and pre-defined guidance for operations. Striking balance between these inherent demands of process control belongs to the strategic decisions by the management, but finally balancing takes place at the sharp end, by the operating personnel. We studied operators' basic assumptions about the role of operating procedures in action. Conceptions of 62 control room operators at two Finnish NPPs were queried. Answers were classified into theory-based categories, i.e., interpretative, confirmative or reactive orientations. Orientation is an epistemic attitude to work that influences the process and content of sense making in situations that require action. In both NPPs, the confirmative orientation, emphasising the importance of acting according to rules, prevails, which corresponds to the expectations set by the organisations. It was also found that orientations reflect the operator roles and their demands: Among turbine operators, the interpretative orientation is significantly more prevalent than among the reactor operators as regards control of action. All operators consider interpretative orientation as a characteristic of a ''good operator''. It is concluded that interpretative orientation represents an epistemic attitude to NPP operator work, in which autonomy based on operators' professional competence and procedure usage is not seen opposite to each other, but intertwined into a practice. Identification interpretativeness as an epistemic attitude relevant in action extends the notion of ''intelligent use of procedures'' proposed earlier, by elaborating the inherent logic and ethos of operators' procedure usage. It is recommended that appropriation of interpretative orientation should be actively supported as a means to facilitate resilience in NPP activity.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)487-499
    Number of pages13
    JournalCognition, Technology and Work
    Volume16
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Fingerprint

    Nuclear power plants
    Process control
    Turbines
    Personnel
    Nuclear Power
    Guidance
    Operator

    Keywords

    • Resilience
    • procedure guidance
    • autonomy
    • orientation
    • sense making
    • NPP operators

    Cite this

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    title = "Operators' orientations to procedure guidance in NPP process control",
    abstract = "Resilience in nuclear power plant (NPP) process control depends, among other things, on balance between operators' autonomy in online decisions and pre-defined guidance for operations. Striking balance between these inherent demands of process control belongs to the strategic decisions by the management, but finally balancing takes place at the sharp end, by the operating personnel. We studied operators' basic assumptions about the role of operating procedures in action. Conceptions of 62 control room operators at two Finnish NPPs were queried. Answers were classified into theory-based categories, i.e., interpretative, confirmative or reactive orientations. Orientation is an epistemic attitude to work that influences the process and content of sense making in situations that require action. In both NPPs, the confirmative orientation, emphasising the importance of acting according to rules, prevails, which corresponds to the expectations set by the organisations. It was also found that orientations reflect the operator roles and their demands: Among turbine operators, the interpretative orientation is significantly more prevalent than among the reactor operators as regards control of action. All operators consider interpretative orientation as a characteristic of a ''good operator''. It is concluded that interpretative orientation represents an epistemic attitude to NPP operator work, in which autonomy based on operators' professional competence and procedure usage is not seen opposite to each other, but intertwined into a practice. Identification interpretativeness as an epistemic attitude relevant in action extends the notion of ''intelligent use of procedures'' proposed earlier, by elaborating the inherent logic and ethos of operators' procedure usage. It is recommended that appropriation of interpretative orientation should be actively supported as a means to facilitate resilience in NPP activity.",
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    Operators' orientations to procedure guidance in NPP process control. / Norros, Leena (Corresponding Author); Liinasuo, Marja; Savioja, Paula.

    In: Cognition, Technology and Work, Vol. 16, No. 4, 2014, p. 487-499.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Operators' orientations to procedure guidance in NPP process control

    AU - Norros, Leena

    AU - Liinasuo, Marja

    AU - Savioja, Paula

    N1 - Project code: 77377 Project code: 85363

    PY - 2014

    Y1 - 2014

    N2 - Resilience in nuclear power plant (NPP) process control depends, among other things, on balance between operators' autonomy in online decisions and pre-defined guidance for operations. Striking balance between these inherent demands of process control belongs to the strategic decisions by the management, but finally balancing takes place at the sharp end, by the operating personnel. We studied operators' basic assumptions about the role of operating procedures in action. Conceptions of 62 control room operators at two Finnish NPPs were queried. Answers were classified into theory-based categories, i.e., interpretative, confirmative or reactive orientations. Orientation is an epistemic attitude to work that influences the process and content of sense making in situations that require action. In both NPPs, the confirmative orientation, emphasising the importance of acting according to rules, prevails, which corresponds to the expectations set by the organisations. It was also found that orientations reflect the operator roles and their demands: Among turbine operators, the interpretative orientation is significantly more prevalent than among the reactor operators as regards control of action. All operators consider interpretative orientation as a characteristic of a ''good operator''. It is concluded that interpretative orientation represents an epistemic attitude to NPP operator work, in which autonomy based on operators' professional competence and procedure usage is not seen opposite to each other, but intertwined into a practice. Identification interpretativeness as an epistemic attitude relevant in action extends the notion of ''intelligent use of procedures'' proposed earlier, by elaborating the inherent logic and ethos of operators' procedure usage. It is recommended that appropriation of interpretative orientation should be actively supported as a means to facilitate resilience in NPP activity.

    AB - Resilience in nuclear power plant (NPP) process control depends, among other things, on balance between operators' autonomy in online decisions and pre-defined guidance for operations. Striking balance between these inherent demands of process control belongs to the strategic decisions by the management, but finally balancing takes place at the sharp end, by the operating personnel. We studied operators' basic assumptions about the role of operating procedures in action. Conceptions of 62 control room operators at two Finnish NPPs were queried. Answers were classified into theory-based categories, i.e., interpretative, confirmative or reactive orientations. Orientation is an epistemic attitude to work that influences the process and content of sense making in situations that require action. In both NPPs, the confirmative orientation, emphasising the importance of acting according to rules, prevails, which corresponds to the expectations set by the organisations. It was also found that orientations reflect the operator roles and their demands: Among turbine operators, the interpretative orientation is significantly more prevalent than among the reactor operators as regards control of action. All operators consider interpretative orientation as a characteristic of a ''good operator''. It is concluded that interpretative orientation represents an epistemic attitude to NPP operator work, in which autonomy based on operators' professional competence and procedure usage is not seen opposite to each other, but intertwined into a practice. Identification interpretativeness as an epistemic attitude relevant in action extends the notion of ''intelligent use of procedures'' proposed earlier, by elaborating the inherent logic and ethos of operators' procedure usage. It is recommended that appropriation of interpretative orientation should be actively supported as a means to facilitate resilience in NPP activity.

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    KW - autonomy

    KW - orientation

    KW - sense making

    KW - NPP operators

    U2 - 10.1007/s10111-014-0274-2

    DO - 10.1007/s10111-014-0274-2

    M3 - Article

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    SP - 487

    EP - 499

    JO - Cognition, Technology and Work

    JF - Cognition, Technology and Work

    SN - 1435-5558

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    ER -