Designing Communication for the Day-to-Day Safety Oversight of Nuclear Power Plants

Joshua B. Barbour, Rebecca Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Inspectors of nuclear power plants manage information to make plants safer and to monitor and evaluate adherence to regulatory requirements. Integrating grounded practical theory and communication as design (CAD), we investigated the collective design of and practice of status meetings-a pair of daily meetings meant to manage information about the day-to-day safety oversight of nuclear power plants. Our analysis focused on (1) the problems these status meetings were meant to address, (2) the techniques participants used or proposed to address them, and (3) the situated ideals reflected in the designs for and practice of these meetings. Clustering the techniques illuminated designable features of status meetings (e.g., what, how much, and how to communicate, turn-taking, timing, pacing, and audience). We extend work on CAD by conceptualizing and investigating collective design work, focusing on the fit, function, and fragmentation of approaches to status meetings. We also contribute to the theory and practice of organizing for safety and reliability by making recommendations for coping when communication processes informed by best practices nonetheless produce persistent, irresolvable tensions that complicate the enactment of safety.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)168-189
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Communication as Design
  • Grounded Practical Theory
  • Nuclear Power Plants
  • Regulatory Communication
  • Safety and Reliability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


Dive into the research topics of 'Designing Communication for the Day-to-Day Safety Oversight of Nuclear Power Plants'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this