Archives For Group dynamics
How do we give meaning to experience in the midst of crisis?
Instead people strive to create a view of it by establishing a common framework into which events can be fitted to makes sense of the world, what Weick (1993) calls a process of sensemaking. And what is true for individuals is also true for the organisations they make up. In return people also use an organisation to make sense of what’s going on, especially in situations of uncertainty, ambiguity or contradiction.
I’ve just finished up the working week with a day long Safety Conversations and Observations course conducted by Dr Robert Long of Human Dymensions. A good, actually very good, course with an excellent balance between the theory of risk psychology and the practicalities of successfully carrying out safety conversations. I’d recommend it to any organisation that’s seeking to take their safety culture beyond systems and paperwork. Although he’s not a great fan of engineers. :)
One of the recurring problems in running hazard identification workshops is being faced by a group whose members are passively refusing to engage in the process.
A technique that I’ve found quite valuable in breaking participants out of that mindset is TRIZ, or the Theory of Solving Problems Creatively (teoriya resheniya izobretatelskikh zadatch).
Just finished reading the excellent paper A Conundrum: Logic, Mathematics and Science Are Not Enough by John Holloway on the the swirling currents of politics, economics and emotion that can surround and affect any discussions of safety. The paper neatly illustrates why the canonical rational-philosophical model of expert knowledge is inherently flawed.
What I find interesting as a practicing engineer is that although every day debates and discussions with your peers emphasise the subjectivity of engineering ‘knowledge’ as engineers we all still like to pretend and behave as if it is not.
An interesting theory of risk perception and communication is put forward by Kahan (2012) in the context of climate risk.