Monthly Archives: September 2013

It should never happen again – but it will!

Reblogged from Smart Performance Management.

Posted by ⋅ September 18, 2013

Guest blog from Dr Mike Lauder, Visiting Fellow at Cranfield’s Centre for Business Performance: Today I sat in a field in Cumbria waiting for the rain to pass. To pass the time I spent the day reading news reports about yet another inquiry that seemed to suggest the last one made little difference.  A little … Continue reading »


Related Resources:

MIkeLauderBook Authors: Dr Mike Lauder
Published: 28 Sep 2013
ISBN: 978-1472413857

In It Should Never Happen Again, Dr Mike Lauder questions the value of public inquiries. Every day, we hear about another inquiry being set up, or why the last one failed to deliver the hoped for outcomes. A great deal of time and taxpayers’ money is spent on inquiries and even more on implementing their recommendations, but the author suggests that those conducting inquiries might be considered (by their own test) criminally negligent in the way they do so and that it is no surprise that they do not lead to the learning they should. The focus of Mike Lauder’s research is the gaps between what is known, what knowledge is used by practitioners and those who judge them. He contends that the difference between the judicial perspective and that of practitioners who are judged by the inquiry process creates barriers that impede others from learning. Crucially, inquiry outcomes do not assist the leadership of organisations to improve risk governance. It Should Never Happen Again is based on research into high profile public inquiries and presidential commissions in the UK, the USA, Continental Europe, and elsewhere. Embracing issues ranging from terrorist attacks to pollution, fire and air disasters; criminal cases; banking and bribery scandals; and the state of public services, Mike Lauder contrasts the judicial perspective of those who inquire, the academic perspective of those who know and the practical perspective of those who are required to act, and offers new models for understanding risk and its governance.

Children and Food Advergames #CranfieldPhD

Shelly Chapman outlines her research which is looking at the effects of advergames on children’s purchase-related behaviour.


Interested in the Cranfield PhD in Management?
Register to attend our next Cranfield Doctoral Research Open Day – 18th Nov 2013

Communicating the risks to encourage safe behaviour

Hugo Marynissen Cranfield DBA

Hugo Marynissen
Cranfield DBA

A synopsis of his International Executive Doctorate (DBA) research, by Hugo Marynissen at Cranfield School of Management.

A constitutive view on risk communication in organisations managing high-risk processes: Towards a conceptual framework.

This study presents a conceptual framework for a constitutive view of risk communication in organisations managing high-risk processes. Over the last few decades, multiple incidents in these types of organisations indicate that the mere communication of risk information and safety procedures does not necessarily lead to risk averse attitudes. Therefore, it might suggest that the traditional transfer of information is not fulfilling its aim, namely to keep the organisation safe. This doctoral thesis proposes a form of constitutive communication that involves all organisational members in an open safety dialogue as an alternative to this informational approach of communication. As such, it offers a way of taking into account the interpretive, subjective aspects of communication and shows how they interweave with formal communication structures to create the possibility of ongoing safe operations.

An on-shore gas-receiving terminal on the European continent was the subject for two empirical research studies. Based on multiple methods, including qualitative interviews, ethnographic data analysis, repertory grid-based interviews, and social network analysis, this study indicates how a constitutive dialogue that creates a common mindset concerning safe operations among all staff can be installed and supported. Furthermore, it demonstrates how despite the fact that every individual in this organisation has different perceptions of the present risks, constitutive risk communication leads to coordinated safe behaviour. These findings offer new perspectives on the solution-oriented knowledge about the relationship between risk communication and risk savvy in organisations managing high-risk processes.

The theoretical background to this phenomenon was supported by a literature review in the field of risk communication and risk perception in organisations managing complex interactive and tightly coupled processes. These findings, together with those of the empirical research projects, were compared with insights in the theoretical fields of High-Reliability Organisations (HRO) and Communication Constitutes Organisations (CCO), and result in a conceptual framework for a constitutive view on risk communication in organisations managing high-risk processes.

This research offers a number of theoretical and practical contributions to the field of HROs, the field of CCO research. It not only confirms key insights into these theoretical fields, it is also the first study that links the use of CCO to organisations managing high-risk technologies.


Supervisor: Prof. Donna Ladkin
Supervisory panel: Dr. Colin Pilbeam, Prof. David Denyer

Related Resources:

Safety Leadership in Service Organisations – Video

Safety Leadership in Service Organisations

Dr Colin Pilbeam outlines a research project which is currently looking at safety issues in service organisations. The project is sponsored by IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health).


Leadership on the Knowledge Interchange

Strategy Complexity and Change Management on the Knowledge Interchange

How do I know?

Reblogged from Smart Performance Management.

Posted by ⋅ September 10, 2013

After the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Trust tragedy and the 400 recommendations in the subsequent Francis report, how can a non-executive director on a trust board have confidence that the operation they are overseeing is being run properly? At yesterday’s Public Sector Performance Roundtable, Paula Higson presented the six questions she has developed through working with … Continue reading »

Researching Tomorrow’s Crisis: Methodological Innovations and Wider Implications

IJMR_Apr13Journal: International Journal of Management Reviews
Published: April 2013
Authors: Prof David Buchanan, Prof David Denyer

The incidence and impact of crises, disasters and other extreme events appears to be increasing, thus heightening the significance of crisis research. The nature of such events – sudden, inconceivable, damaging, sensitive, unique – has encouraged unconventional methodological perspectives and practices. A review of these developments is timely. This article presents a bounded, temporally bracketed overview of the literatures exploring extreme events, structured around an ‘ideal type’ event sequence with six phases: incubation period, incident, crisis management, investigation, organizational learning and implementation of ‘lessons learned’. While not a traditional review, this approach serves to overcome problems associated with phenomena resistant to precise definition, and maps the structure of a field characterized by fragmentation, insular traditions and epistemological pluralism, generating a template against which crises can be explored. Crisis research appears to have overcome the problems associated with relying on retrospective research designs, accessing sensitive data, addressing novel ethical concerns, developing multi-level explanations and using single case studies to develop generalizable theory. The wider adoption of these approaches in ‘mainstream’ organization and management studies may prompt innovation and fresh insights in other areas, particularly where the temporal structure of events, the role of slow-moving causes, and conjunctural reasoning, play significant roles.


Related Resources:

Cranfield Strategy, Complexity and Change Management on the Knowledge Interchange


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