The bureaucratization of safety

Dekker, Sidney W. A. (2014) The bureaucratization of safety. Safety Science, 70 348-357. doi:10.1016/j.ssci.2014.07.015

Author Dekker, Sidney W. A.
Title The bureaucratization of safety
Journal name Safety Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0925-7535
Publication date 2014-12
Year available 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.ssci.2014.07.015
Open Access Status
Volume 70
Start page 348
End page 357
Total pages 10
Place of publication Amsterdam, Netherlands
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract This paper examines the bureaucratization of safety, and the increase in safety as measurable bureaucratic accountability. The bureaucratization of safety-which has accelerated since the 1970s-revolves around hierarchy, specialization and division of labor, and formalized rules. Bureaucratic accountability refers to the activities expected of organization members to account for the safety performance of those they are responsible for (e.g. unit, team, site). Bureaucratization of safety has brought benefits, including a reduction of harm, standardization, transparency and control. It has been driven by regulation, liability and insurance arrangements, outsourcing and contracting, and technologies for surveillance and data storage. However, bureaucratization generates secondary effects that run counter to its original goals. These include a reduced marginal yield of safety initiatives, bureaucratic entrepreneurism and pettiness, an inability to predict unexpected events, structural secrecy, "numbers games," the creation of new safety problems, and constraints on organization members' personal freedom, diversity and creativity, as well as a hampering of innovation. This paper concludes with possible ideas for addressing such problems.
Keyword Bureaucratic accountability
Vision zero
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 9 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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