Managing the Unexpected

High Reliability develops an organization’s strengths through individual actions.
Shared attitudes fill the gap between organization and the individual to determine High Reliability.

Conference Article

2013 Sixth International HRO Conference

Beyond Theory: The Practical & Human Side of High Reliability Organizing

Conference Dates: 9-11 April 2013



BEYOND THEORY: the practical and human side of High Reliability Organizing

Further Information Agenda Workshops Faculty List

High Reliability as a practice originated in those organizations that routinely engaged uncertainty or threat.  The repeated performance of what we now call High Reliability during routine times conditioned into individuals the habits and customs they need during time-compressed circumstances.
The 6th International HRO conference will examine High Reliability Organizing as a practical approach to routine operations capable of rapid, facile expansion for time-compressed states of uncertainty or threat – that is, the unexpected. While this is commonly considered part of organizational design, plans, and structure, HROs are unique in their use of the human side of operations to power this expansion. The methodology to transform organizations to HROs is not well identified. Definitions and descriptions create a common grammar but not a method of implementation, something we have also yet to identify. It is the practical uses of HRO and its human side that causes High Reliability to penetrate an organization and diffuse throughout, person to person, and which takes us beyond theory.  
New this year are pre-conference workshops of half-day, small group sessions for HRO 101 (introduction to HRO), advanced HRO, High Reliability leadership, and industry-specific programs open to all.
Returning are our abstract sessions for researchers and practitioners to present their primary research and experience.

CONFERENCE objectives

  • Describe how HRO is used for routine practical problems.
  • Characterize HRO’s ability to expand from the routine to the unexpected.
  • Describe what attracts people to want to perform in High Reliability.
  • Discuss how HRO brings people together to discuss not only unexpected events but also unexpected responses to their actions.

WORKSHOP objectives

New this year are workshops for specific subjects or industries!
Industry-specific topics are unique as we provide HRO experts from the industry and invite non-industry attendees who would like to see inside the HRO successes and issues of other industries.

  • Describe how High Reliability Organizing interacts with characteristics and elements of the subject.
  • Characterize the subject in terms of High Reliability.
  • Identify benefits HRO brings to the subject not otherwise obtained.
  • Identify impediments HRO brings because of conventional approaches to the subject. 


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