Is There a Place for High-Reliability Organizations in Drilling?
- John Thorogood (Drilling Global Consultant LLP)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- SPE Drilling & Completion
- Publication Date
- September 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 263 - 269
- 2013. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 1.6 Drilling Operations, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 578 since 2007
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Research on high-reliability organizations was originally carried out withaircraft carriers and nuclear submarines. Essentially, this involved relativelyclosed communities, with a high operational tempo at which mistakes could haveextremely serious and direct consequences. In these cases, rapid learning was abyproduct of personnel rotation and the need to train successors. Recentresearch suggests that high-reliability organizations have five importantcharacteristics: a preoccupation with failure, a reluctance to simplify,sensitivity to operations, resilience, and a respect for expertise. It is notimmediately obvious that these qualities are an inherent part of the culture ofthe organizations that manage drilling operations today. The thesis of thispaper is that these five traits taken together can prevent drilling operationsfrom drifting into failures caused by the complexity of the organizationsinvolved in conceptualizing, planning, and executing drilling operations,including the management environment in which they are set. This paperconsiders how apparently successful organizations can "drift into failure," inpart, as a result of the consequences of organizational complexity. These ideasset the scene for a review of high-reliability-organization theory and suggestways in which the principles might be applied to the management of drillingoperations.
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