Summary: The book highlights characteristics of organizations that are capable to improve efficiency and manage their risk in challenging operative environments. According to the writers these high reliable organizations pay especially attention to small failures, real-time operations, alternative pathways to keep going and mobilization of expertise. The book presents how quality and continuous improvement philosophy eroded in manufacturing company causing a recall of 10 million vehicles and how they recovered from the crisis. The book can be purchased here www.wiley.com.
Full review: Logistics networks are prone to disruptions and inefficiencies due to inconsistencies in organizational structures and cultures, human nature to searching simplified answers to complex problems and lack of collective commitment and competence necessary to sustain performance under trying conditions. The book describes characteristics of mindful organizations that are capable to perform reliably in complex environment. These organizations have unique culture, capabilities for self-design, networks build on expertise, hybrid structures with special attention to redundancy and continuity, special training and routines to maintain situational awareness, mind-sets to make sense out of emerging patterns, relational strategies to adapt to local environment and efficient information processing.
The CORE project aims at utilizing real-time data in order to increase visibility over movements of shipments. This is expected to improve abilities to re-plan resources if required due to detected risks or unexpected disruptions. The paper give advises how to create an infrastructure that supports sense making, continuous organizing and adaptive management in complex environment. The infrastructure make possible to convert observations of anomalies into explicit event types, categories, routines, instructions and roles. During the process abstract management concepts get refined organization specific meanings. However, sense making, continuous organizing and adaptive management prerequisite honesty and transparency in reporting and willingness to base actions on them. Besides, observations must be integrated into reports without underestimating or belittling observations that have no immediate explanations. The book can be used as user manual how organization can make most use of new data in order to respond earlier and adapt to unexpected situations.
The CORE project itself is a complex project comprising over 60 partners, 22 work packages and hundreds of interrelated tasks. The CORE management pays special attention to ensure sustained performance. First, consortium members work with concepts that enable them to cluster observations from real-time case and identify emerging patterns (sustained awareness). Second, partners have a variety of technological and operational expertise from academic, governmental and private sector. Respectful interaction and heedful interrelating support creation of shared understanding in non-obvious cases and their explanations (sustained surfacing). Third, ambiguity is implicitly or even explicitly acknowledged and accepted to be part of the project. However, ambiguity does not stop the work. It is an active part of problem solving (sustained organizing). Forth, when the CORE demonstrations progress, new details and nuances are discovered. Concepts and case studies are continuously updated (sustained updating). Fifth, tasks and problems are ambiguous, that creates often discomfort among partners. That creates a strong propensity to simplify problems and find or even create traditional solutions. CORE Management team avoids making rigid decisions, but they give directions, which by definition are dynamic, open to improvement, self-correcting, responsive and transparently reasoned (sustained agency). Sixth, human beings tend to simplify their interpretations and underestimate how much crucial information is then lost. In addition, we tend to pay more attention to own tasks and less to interconnected tasks of other partners. CORE partners are experienced to align tasks in a way that they maximize common good (sustained variety). Seventh, the CORE project highlight continuing adaption that reduces need to make radical changes. The CORE management team encourages partners to update their conceptions through paying closer attention to demonstrations. Bsides, management team facilitates respectful interaction through workshops.
Reference: Weick, Karl E. & Sutcliffe, Kathleen M. (2015). Managing the Unexpected: Sustained Performance in Complex World. 3rd Edition.