Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability

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Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2007 - Social Science - 153 pages
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A just culture protects people's honest mistakes from being seen as culpable. But what is an honest mistake, or rather, when is a mistake no longer honest? Drawing on his experience with practitioners (in nursing, air traffic control and professional aviation) whose errors were turned into crimes, Dekker lays out a new view of just culture. This book will help you to create an environment where learning and accountability are fairly and constructively balanced.

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Bad stuff happens to good people. The truth turns into people's versions. Something serious can draw media and even court attention. A code of silence typically ensues because it is to easily to be unjustly accused. And it is no wonder why this happens. Rather than increase reporting of accidents, the author suggests that we generate a culture of honestly disclosing accidents with the only intention of learning to avoid repeated mistakes.
The book is littered with examples from real cases where ethics and legal issues collide. My heart poured to repeatedly see how people are punished for their unknown involvement in a supposed crime.
Just Culture is about accountability, therefore trust. Without respect for the worker and an understanding of the system they work in along with a devotion to improving the system the worker works in - there will be no accountability - no ownership. The author repeats his praise for learning. A very lean message indeed. If your team discusses near misses, authentically, you are already on your road to blameless learning when incidences occur.
Forward looking accountability ensures someone is responsible for reducing the probability of a repeat. Getting this in your organization is laid out in the last chapter. Throughout the book are tips on how to avoid not having a just culture: bad morale, low commitment to the organization, poor job satisfaction and a low level of willingness to do that little bit extra.
Don't forget to read in groups and discuss what to do together if you really want to make a difference.


Why Bother with a Just Culture?
Between Culpable and Blameless
The Importance Risk and Protection of Reporting
The Importance Risk and Protection of Disclosure
Are All Mistakes Equal?
Hindsight and Determining Culpability
You Have Nothing to Fear if Youve Done Nothing Wrong
Without Prosecutors There Would be No Crime
Are Judicial Proceedings Bad for Safety?
Stakeholders in the Legal Pursuit of Justice
Three Questions for a Just Culture
Not Individuals or Systems but Individuals in Systems
A Staggered Approach to Building your Just Culture

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