Organizing for Transient Reliability: The Production of Dynamic Non-Events

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Abstract

Reliability is portrayed as a situation-specific localized accomplishment that involves continuous management of significant contradictions that are susceptible to interruption. Managing for higher reliability is precarious because it involves the substitution of a conceptual order for a perceptual order. Discrete concepts simplify and lag behind continuous perceptions, which means that our grasp of events is subject to mis-specification, misidentification, and misunderstanding. The gap between discrete concepts and continuous perceptions can be reduced if attention is organized so that it is directed at failures, simplifications, operations, resilience, and expertise. These micro-dynamics are discussed as a partial infrastructure that underlies Todd LaPorte's more macro-concerns with strategy and structure in the quest for failure-free interorganizational performance.

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