Organizational accidents is a category of accidents caused by organizational factors. They are rare but have widespread consequences, many defenses and multiple causes, they are associated with judging and deciding, and have a long “history”. Organizational accidents are also associated with highly regulated industries, such as aviation. There are several other constructs related to organizational factors undermining safety. Aviation is unfortunately closely associated with the traditional “Safety I” thinking, where adverse outcomes can be found at the end of causal chain and treating, and preferably eliminating, the causes will increase safety by preventing future accidents. An alternative view is “Safety II”, where the focus is on what goes right rather than on what goes wrong. Safety II is thus defined as the ability to succeed under expected and unexpected conditions alike. Yet another viewpoint is Work-As-Imagined vs. Work-As-Done. In the former case, the focus is on accident and incident investigation and elimination of noncompliance errors (“name, blame, train”). In contrast, the latter perspective does away with both well-defined functions and malfunctions and accepts that performance is variable as a matter of fact and that the same variability can result in both success and failure. Because performance variability allows for adjustment to changing situations, it is the reason why everyday work is safe and effective.
& Hujibrechts, E.
(2021). Organizational Safety in Airline Operations. 80th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 190-195.