HROs anticipate problems by displaying a preoccupation with failure, reluctance to simplify, and sensitivity to their operations. When organizations use these strategies and open communication to accompany them, they increase their potential to identify and address a risk before it becomes a crisis. Anticipation is based on scrutinizing all potential vulnerabilities. This scrutiny helps workers and supervisors to avoid oversimplifying tasks to a point of encouraging a mindless application of routines. Food processing organizations should anticipate problems at every stage ranging from harvest to delivery of a packaged product to retail outlets.

Preoccupation With Failure

The observation, reporting, and analysis of even minor failures is critical to the HRO approach. Without a willingness to reconsider routines based on minor failures, organizations often develop a false sense of confidence. In fact, many organizations interpret near misses as a sign of resilience when in fact a crisis was averted by luck or chance rather than by procedural effectiveness (Tinsley et al., 2012). To counter this preoccupation with failure, the HRO model suggests embracing failure more than success (Weick and Sutcliffe, 2007). In short, a preoccupation with failure assumes that risk mistaken for safety is far more threatening than safety mistaken for risk.

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