A Systemic View of Obtaining High Reliability Organization Status
Tolk, Janice N.
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Becoming a High Reliability Organization (HRO) is of interest to many organizations, yet the tools or processes to obtain HRO status are unclear. Historically, organizations are studied in isolation, yet HROs exist due to the interactions of the organization on many levels. Observing how an organization transitioned to an HRO from a systemic perspective may give insight to scholars who normally look at organizations in isolation. The following paper is a case study on how the Department of Energy Pantex Plant became an HRO. The analysis describes the process from published documents on the policy and agency level; specifically, how HRO attributes emerged, and the relation between policy and organizational change. The results found the Pantex Plant HRO journey parallels the Air Traffic Control HRO journey wherein high reliability organizing grew and was reinforced both horizontally and vertically within the larger High Reliability System (HRS). This reinforces a previous study that found that HROs develop and the attributes are institutionalized through a cooperative and multi-directional relationship within a policy, agency, and industry HRS.