High reliability organizing at the boundary of the CM domain

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The construction management (CM) domain regularly develops and explores new theories and perspectives. These new insights can shift the existing paradigm radically, they can be assimilated smoothly, or they can stall as they are debated at CM’s domain boundary. During our current research, we experience that the concepts from high reliability organizing (HRO) are caught in such a debate. We elaborate this debate from the viewpoint of two distinctive scientific traditions and evaluate the main premises that hold HRO at CM’s boundaries. It seems that reductionist scientific traditions underlie much of the critique which currently diverts debate off into an unproductive intellectual cul-de-sac. An alternative pragmatic approach would allow CM’s HRO researchers to avoid the confines of the reductionist arguments as it redirects minds and action on productive and practical research to achieving more reliable construction project performance, as well as dealing better with health and safety issues. Above all, the examination of the HRO boundary debate in CM may help other researchers experiencing impasses in their debates to explore whether these debates address the actual notions at stake or are restricted by deeply held views rooted in scientific traditions
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)658-664
JournalConstruction management and economics
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • METIS-304754
  • IR-91579


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