Safety culture and subcontractor network governance in a complex safety critical project

Pia Oedewald, Nadezhda Gotcheva

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    28 Citations (Scopus)


    In safety critical industries many activities are currently carried out by subcontractor networks. Nevertheless, there are few studies where the core dimensions of resilience would have been studied in safety critical network activities. This paper claims that engineering resilience into a system is largely about steering the development of culture of the system towards better ability to anticipate, monitor, respond and learn. Thus, safety culture literature has relevance in resilience engineering field. This paper analyzes practical and theoretical challenges in applying the concept of safety culture in a complex, dynamic network of subcontractors involved in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Finland, Olkiluoto 3. The concept of safety culture is in focus since it is widely used in nuclear industry and bridges the scientific and practical interests. This paper approaches subcontractor networks as complex systems. However, the management model of the Olkiluoto 3 project is to a large degree a traditional top-down hierarchy, which creates a mismatch between the management approach and the characteristics of the system to be managed. New insights were drawn from network governance studies.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)106-114
    JournalReliability Engineering and System Safety
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • safety culture
    • network
    • subcontractor network governance
    • resilience
    • nuclear industry
    • complexity


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