The Technical Communicator’s Role in Facilitating High Reliability Organizations
High Reliability Organizations (HROs) are organizations that are able to perform at maximum capacity in situations and environments where there is extreme potential for error and disaster. Examples of HROs are the fire service, the police, the military, hospital emergency rooms, and air traffic control systems. Most business organizations, with a few exceptions, do not have the same level of potential for error and disaster. However, in recent years, we have witnessed negative corporate transformation at a magnitude that actually has resulted in disaster in the form of a tanked economy and a rapidly shrinking middle class.
There is hope, however. It comes in the form of a model extracted from existing HROs. This model is driven by setting expectations, communicating those expectations, setting up systems that support the work of contributing individuals, and fostering a culture of mindful decision-making and critical thinking.
Once again, technical communicators find themselves in a position to be change agents in our organizations. This presentation discusses the ways that technical communicators can contribute to positive organizational transformation through our core competencies in message development and information design and organization; our service-orientation; and our ability to attend to detail while retaining our 40,000-foot vision.