High-reliability organization seen through interstitial activities

Abstract : Empirical studies of high-reliability organizations have usually focused on the most visible activities directly related to reliability: flight decks on aircraft carriers, the operation and maintenance of nuclear power stations, hospital emergency services and operating rooms, etc. The findings of fieldwork on heavy handling operations in two firms in the nuclear industry have been used to analyze "interstitial" activities along the boundary with visible "noble tasks". Based on pragmatic theories and communication studies on organizations, this approach proposes an original definition of interstitial activities on four dimensions: organizational, temporal, spatial and symbolic. Owing to their effects on the vigilance of operatives and supervisors and on the decompartmentalization of activities at the plants, these boundary activities in bulk handling reinforce high-reliability organization overall. The concept of "interstitial activity" could prove useful for research on "distributed organizations", where questions of coordination and cooperation are of utmost importance.
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Contributor : Jérémy Eydieux <>
Submitted on : Monday, September 18, 2017 - 3:40:18 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 6:30:13 PM


  • HAL Id : hal-01589477, version 1


Jérémy Eydieux, Benoît Journé, Stéphanie Tillement. High-reliability organization seen through interstitial activities. Gérer et Comprendre English Language Online Edition, 2017, pp.1-11. ⟨hal-01589477⟩



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