Risk Mitigation in Large-Scale Systems: Lessons from High Reliability Organizations

by Martha Grabowski, Karlene Roberts



This article argues that we should turn our attention from single organizations to systems of organizations if we are to manage in a way that reduces the potential for catastrophic outcomes in organizations. Risk mitigation measures for large-scale systems are derived from research on high reliability organizations (HROs). The article focuses on characteristics similar to both types of systems--which include simultaneous autonomy and interdependence, intended and unintended consequences of behavior, long incubation periods during which problems can arise, and risk migration--and shows how risk mitigation principles that evolved from HRO research can be applied to large-scale systems.

California Management Review

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