This case study, published in Safety Science, looks at aviation to illustrate the conflict, and double-binds, created as those in high-consequence industries negotiate the fluid lines of accountability relationship boundaries. This germane example is the crash of Swissair Flight 111, near Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1998. The paper offers dialogue to aid in understanding the influence accountability relationships have on safety, and how employee behavioural expectations shift in accordance. McCall and Prunchnicki propose that this examination will help redefine accountability boundaries that support a just culture within dynamic high-consequence industries.
Key highlights from the paper
- Accountability relationships, as both retrospective and prospective, support just culture.
- Lines are fluid in accountability relationships, forcing operators to adapt to changing goals.
- Viewing accountability lines as rigid, increases risk and creates double-binds for operators.
- Clinging to retrospective accountability reinforces blaming/shaming operators for errors.
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