A Discourse on the Incorporation of Organizational Factors into Probabilistic Risk Assessment: Key Questions and Categorical Review

Justin Pence, Zahra Mohaghegh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This article presents a discourse on the incorporation of organizational factors into probabilistic risk assessment (PRA)/probabilistic safety assessment (PSA), a topic of debate since the 1980s that has spurred discussions among industry, regulatory agencies, and the research community. The main contributions of this article include (1) identifying the four key open questions associated with this topic; (2) framing ongoing debates by considering differing perspectives around each question; (3) offering a categorical review of existing studies on this topic to justify the selection of each question and to analyze the challenges related to each perspective; and (4) highlighting the directions of research required to reach a final resolution for each question. The four key questions are: (I) How significant is the contribution of organizational factors to accidents and incidents? (II) How critical, with respect to improving risk assessment, is the explicit incorporation of organizational factors into PRA? (III) What theoretical bases are needed for explicit incorporation of organizational factors into PRA? (IV) What methodological bases are needed for the explicit incorporation of organizational factors into PRA? Questions I and II mainly analyze PRA literature from the nuclear domain. For Questions III and IV, a broader review and categorization is conducted of those existing cross-disciplinary studies that have evaluated the effects of organizational factors on safety (not solely PRA-based) to shed more light on future research needs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1183-1211
Number of pages29
JournalRisk Analysis
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Keywords

  • Human reliability analysis (HRA)
  • organizational factors
  • probabilistic risk assessment (PRA)
  • probabilistic safety assessment (PSA)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Physiology (medical)

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