novellus

elephant

Did you spot the elephant in the room? The non-sense of performance indicators and metrics

Combining human efforts with technological advances to deliver services faster, better and cheaper has been a core ambition of management science (if there was such a discipline!) — at least since the start of the industrial revolution. But over time, machinery tends to wear out and men become lazy and complacent. Both need to be …

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Light bulbs, red lines and rotten onions: Debunking the myths of the safety management systems

In January 2015, the pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) Hoegh Osaka developed a severe list on departing from Southampton, and was left stranded outside the port for more than 19 days. The official investigation revealed how decision making became the victim of production pressures. The vessel sailed from port without determining accurately the stability …

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Boxing and dancing: The challenges of enforcement in global shipping

In recent years, the spread of inspections and other forms of enforcement (audits, surveys, vetting, assurance etc.) has reached a stage of ‘explosion’ both in terms of scope and frequency. There is a real concern that the enforcement regime, i.e. compliance with rules, regulations and industry standards, has fallen victim to its original intentions of …

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learning from work

Lost control, just stay in command: What it means to be a ship captain?

The previous year witnessed two experienced ship captains being humiliated and eventually criminalized. Accidents, with no evil intentions, were turned into acts of crime. So strong was this perception that even veteran captains and the so called ‘experts’ within the profession found it difficult to understand the ‘erratic’ behaviour and ‘selfish’ actions of the captain …

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Caught in numbers, lost in focus: Safety management in global shipping

Study after study has been conducted on safety management without ever engaging critically with the term safety or examining how it became one with the science of management. Producing comprehensive accounts of all ‘unharmed’ and ‘uninjured’ events is mundane and resource-intensive. Instead, the alternative approach is to examine harm and injuries both potential and actual. …

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Breaking the myth: The effectiveness of bowties in risk and safety management

In recent years, bow-ties have become a fashionable tool for managing risk and safety in high-risk industries. The original thinking was based on James Reason’s widely cited Swiss cheese model and the domino effect. Reason argued that accidents (or failures) in socio-technical systems, ie systems comprising human beings and technical components, are “caused” as a …

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