High-reliability organizations (HROs) are organizations that consistently avoid catastrophic accidents even though the possibility for error is very high. HROs are a subset of high-risk organizations. High-risk organizations are organizations that operate in environments where two criteria are met: the opportunity for error is very high and the consequences for error are very severe.

High-risk organizations and HROs tend to operate in industries such as manufacturing, chemical processing, military, public safety, fire service, nuclear, gas, and electrical utility. These types of organizations can negatively impact individuals, the environment, the communities they are embedded in, and other organizations with which they partner. Examples of these organizations include aircraft carrier crews, nuclear power plants, and fire departments.

Characteristics of High-Reliability Organizations

Much academic research has been conducted on HROs to ...

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