learning organisations for nuclear safety bj rn wahlstr m n.
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Learning organisations for nuclear safety Björn Wahlström. SUMMARY. A Cost Shared Action Project start on 1.11.2001 Project length 30 months Objective to create methods and tools for supporting the management of change and organisational learning Focus

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  • A Cost Shared Action
  • Project start on 1.11.2001
  • Project length 30 months
  • Objective

to create methods and tools for supporting the management of change and organisational learning

  • Focus

senior managers at NPPs and power utilities who are responsible for strategic choice and resource allocation

  • Results

features and attributes of learning organisations

good practices of safety management

  • An open web-site http://www.vtt.fi/virtual/learnsafe/
project partners
1) VTT Industrial Systems, Espoo (FIN)

2) Technische Universität Berlin, (DE)

3) Lancaster University, Lancaster (GB)

4) CIEMAT, Madrid (ES)

5) SwedPower AB, Stockholm (SE)

6) UNESA, Madrid (ES)

7) WANO, Paris (FR)

8) Teollisuuden Voima Oy, Olkiluoto (FIN)

9) Forsmarks Kraftgrupp AB, Östhammar (SE)

10) E.ON Kernkraft GmbH, Grafenrheinfeld (DE)

11) Kernkraftwerk Krümmel GmbH, Geesthacht (DE)

12) British Nuclear Fuels Ltd., Warrington (GB)

13) OKG Aktiebolag, Oskarshamn (SE)

14) Ringhals AB, Väröbacka (SE)

Project partners
research questions
Research questions

First phase of the project, management of change

  • Q1: What are the perceived emerging challenges in the management of nuclear power plants?
  • Q2: How do senior managers cope with emerging challenges in the management of nuclear power plants?
  • Q3: What improvements could be made in respect to coping with emerging challenges in the management of nuclear power plants?

Second phase of the project, learning organisations

  • Q4: What kind of features and attributes characterise learning organisations?
  • Q5: What are the most common hindrances to organisational learning and how can they be removed?
  • Q6: How are various company cultures and sub-cultures influencing organisational learning?
main achievements
Main Achievements
  • A theoretical framework of organisational factors

components to consider, views to take, organisational failures, generic dilemmas of management

  • Organisational descriptions

authorities and responsibilities, planning cycles, work processes and activities, organisational factors and culture, safety management activities, drivers of change

  • Data collection

questionnaires to safety, health and environment experts

Metaplan sessions to identify management challenges

interviews with top managers (challenges, strategies)

  • Strategies, plans and actions in response to challenges
clusters of challenge
Clusters of challenge

1. Economic pressures

competition, cost reductions, adaptations to market conditions

2. Human resource management

competency at the NPPs, age distribution, early retirements

3. Nuclear know-how

decreasing number of vendors, contractors and suppliers

4. Rules and regulation

new regulatory requirements, bureaucracy and paperwork

5. Focus and priorities

management focus and commitment, a wise use of resources

6. Ageing, modernisation and new technology

maintaining plant technical condition, ageing of the plants and components

7. Public confidence and trust

acceptability of nuclear power, anti-nuclear attitudes, hostility in mass media

8. Climate and culture

motivation and attitudes, fighting complacency , safety culture

a summary of strategies
A summary of strategies
  • Money

Create cost awareness within the personnel. Share costs with partners in co-operation. Create efficient work practices. Do a careful planning of investments and outages. Use best available practices.

  • People

Take care of people. Invest in internal training. Do career planning. Provide interesting tasks for people. Pay fair salaries. Express clear expectations on people. Do regular competency surveys.

  • Technology

Keep the plants in top condition. Build away problems with materials and equipment. Create a long term technical development plan and keep it updated. Invest in R&D. Keep plant documentation up-to-date.

  • Practices

Promote leadership. Make priorities explicit in strategies and plans. Motivate all decisions taken. Encourage open and communication. Define borders for acceptability. React rapidly in the case of malpractices. Use conservativity in decisions.

  • Environment

Maintain good contacts to stakeholders. Network broadly. Avoid isolation. Follow what is going on within the industry. React already when changes are emerging. Try to understand trends. Be a good citizen.

spin off tasks with participating npps
Spin-off tasks with participating NPPs
  • Participation in the evaluation of a Behavioural Safety Process.
  • A benchmarking exercise on quality activities and operations management.
  • A discussion and assessment of peer review activities.
  • A study of the merging of two cultures in an organisational change.
  • The path to a new organisational structure.
  • The concept of core competency.
  • A definition and evaluation of organisational controllability.
development trends
An increasing complexity

More things to weight together in a search for an optimum.

A larger diversity of skills is needed.

Difficult to relate achievements to resources spent.

Difficult to keep track of and react on important issues.

An increasing uncertainty

Political uncertainty.

New regulatory requirements.

Future availability of vendors and contractors.

Margins are needed for the unexpected.

It is difficult to plan for the future.

Development trends

Larger demands are set on managers at all levels!

dissemination and exploitation of the results
Dissemination and exploitation of the results
  • A safety problem, real or perceived, is a risk to the business
  • An open final seminar to be held 28-29 April 2004
  • Results are of interest within the safety critical industries
  • Results will be used in research and consultancy work
  • Results will assist participating NPPs
  • Courses and seminars in organisational factors
  • WANO gives a channel for dissemination of project results
a set of emerging issues
A set of emerging issues
  • Quality systems, how to get them understood, accepted and used?
  • Is regulatory oversight correctly targeted?
  • Why does not available guidance on organisation and management seem to help?
  • The world is changing, it is necessary to adapt. Changes create both opportunities and risks, how to balance?
  • Use of time at the NPPs, how to avoid the risk of a reactive mode of work?
  • How to avoid short-sightedness in adjusting to a quarter-of-a-year economy?
  • How to avert political intermixing with the business?
  • What is safe enough and how can you convince people that it is the case?
  • Results give an inventory of organisational challenges at NPPs and approaches for their resolution.
  • Further results are expected to give additional understanding of crucial components of safety management at the NPPs.
  • LearnSafe has brought together a unique blend of researchers and practitioners.
  • The involvement of NPPs in five European countries has made it possible to address similarities and differences in organisational structures and work practices.
  • Better understanding of systemic issues connected to human errors and organisational deficiencies.
  • Safety cannot be built just as a collection of good practices, but have to be understood and tuned to local conditions.