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Palgrave Macmillan

Close Calls

Managing Risk and Resilience in Airline Flight Safety

ISBN 9780230220843
Publication Date March 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (PDF) Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

From operating theatres to trading floors, and from oil platforms to airline cockpits, organizations are engaged in a continuous struggle for safety and control. It has become essential for organizations to identify, understand and learn from close calls and 'near-miss' events quickly, before minor errors and failures can enlarge into catastrophic accidents. This book is about the practical work that transforms moments of risk into sources of resilience. It specifically examines the world of airline flight safety investigators, whose job it is to oversee one of the most technologically advanced, one of the safest, but also one of the least forgiving operational environments that exist: commercial air transport. Drawing on extensive first-hand observations and unique access to major airlines, Close Calls presents a compelling and richly detailed account of the challenges faced by these modern risk managers and the innovative strategies they adopt to analyse risk and improve safety. It is a must-read for all those who seek to understand and improve the oversight, analysis and management of risk and safety in complex organizations.

Carl Macrae is a social psychologist, Senior Research Fellow in the Centre for Patient Safety and Service Quality at Imperial College London, UK, and a Health Foundation Improvement Science Fellow.

1. Searching for Risk and Resilience
2. Airlines, Incidents and Investigators
3. Understanding and Interpreting Safety
4. Analysing and Assessing Risk
5. Overseeing and Monitoring Safety
6. Identifying and Constructing Risks
7. Improving and Evaluating Safety
8. Organising Resilience


Close Calls is an extremely important book because it grounds the elusive concepts of reliability, resilience, risk, and sensemaking in the detailed specific practices of airline flight safety investigators. This may sound like an exotic population to study, but it is the brilliance of this volume to go deep into the interpretive work of people who make a living doing what you and I try to do everyday - make sense of ambiguous and unexpected events. Macrae has made the invisible visible and in doing so, has created a beautifully written book that is required reading for any gathering of people who want to learn more about the specifics of risk, safety, inquiry, and performance improvement.Karl E. Weick, Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Organizational Behaviour and Psychology, University of Michigan, USA, and co-author of "Managing the Unexpected"
This book offers one of the best discussions of the nature of organisational safety I have ever read. I confidently predict that it will have a major impact upon the way safety professionals and academics think and do research. James Reason, Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester, UK, and author of "Managing the Risks of Organisational Accidents" and "The Human Contribution"
Close Calls is a superb piece of work, both as a landmark summary of the field of safety and as a collection of important new insights. It is full of subtle, deep and intellectually challenging ideas that are extremely instructive. This book needs days of study not soundbites of attention, and will particularly benefit those working in healthcare safety, where many of these important ideas need to be deeply embedded.Don Berwick, President Emeritus and Senior Fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), USA
The aviation industry is legendary for its reporting culture and for the way it learns from incidents. Close Calls describes in rich detail how this works. The book will be of enormous value to all industries that aspire to the aviation safety culture. As an added bonus, it is beautifully written and a delight to read.Andrew Hopkins, Professor Emeritus, Australian National University, Australia, and author of "Dangerous Decisions" and "Safety, Culture and Risk"
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