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Just Culture

Balancing Safety and Accountability

Just Culture by Sidney Dekker
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Building on the success of the 2007 original, Dekker revises, enhances and expands his view of just culture for this second edition, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside organizations. The goal remains the same: to create an environment where learning and accountability are fairly and constructively balanced.

The First Edition of Sidney Dekker’s Just Culture brought accident accountability and criminalization to a broader audience. It made people question, perhaps for the first time, the nature of personal culpability when organizational accidents occur.
Having raised this awareness the author then discovered that while many organizations saw the fairness and value of creating a just culture they really struggled when it came to developing it: What should they do? How should they and their managers respond to incidents, errors, failures that happen on their watch?
In this Second Edition, Dekker expands his view of just culture, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside organizations. The new book is structured quite differently. Chapter One asks, ‘what is the right thing to do?’ - the basic moral question underpinning the issue. Ensuing chapters demonstrate how determining the ‘right thing’ really depends on one’s viewpoint, and that there is not one ‘true story’ but several. This naturally leads into the key issue of how justice is established inside organizations and the practical efforts needed to sustain it. The following chapters place just culture and criminalization in a societal context. Finally, the author reflects upon why we tend to blame individual people for systemic failures when in fact we bear collective responsibility.
The changes to the text allow the author to explain the core elements of a just culture which he delineated so successfully in the First Edition and to explain how his original ideas have evolved. Dekker also introduces new material on ethics and on caring for the’ second victim’ (the professional at the centre of the incident). Consequently, we have a natural evolution of the author’s ideas. Those familiar with the earlier book and those for whom a just culture is still an aspiration will find much wisdom and practical advice here.

Ashgate Publishing Ltd; June 2012
200 pages; ISBN 9781409487029
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Title: Just Culture
Author: Sidney Dekker
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