3 Essential Domains of High Reliability Organizations

By Lowers & Associates,

High Reliability Organizations (HROs) achieve such a status through persistent and detailed efforts to improve outcomes, even seeking “perfect reliability.” But, how do you get there from where you are?

Chassin and Loeb, writing about healthcare, have summarized the requirements into three broad domains: leadership, process, and culture. The approach these authors describe is intended to help hospitals and other healthcare organizations adopt HRO principles and performance, but it applies equally well to other types of organizations. All complex organizations seeking to improve outcome quality and reliability will have to scrutinize the same domains and begin to install changes. … Continue reading

The Changing Culture of Risk

By Lowers & Associates,

occupational fraud

There are a couple trends in our current society that lead many to believe that risks from human capital are on the rise. You might refer to this as the “cultural context of risk.”[i] If indeed human capital risks are on the rise it makes sense that C-suites have a greater obligation to take action to identify, assess, and act to mitigate the risks they face.

One trend is exemplified in the increasing incidence of occupational fraud (see our graphic summary of fraud). The most worrisome aspect of this is that it may reflect a change in our culture toward less personal honesty or restraint – sociologists would refer to this as a decline in “social control” as opposed to the formal control of law enforcement. If this is true, employers face a permanently more difficult challenge in finding employees they can trust to work for the good of the organization.

The second trend may actually be part of a social response to the failure of social control. In place of allowing organizations to control their own behaviors, government has adopted some increasingly stringent regulations ranging from SOX, to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. These legal controls create a rigid, maybe brittle, operating environment that exposes organizations to much higher risk for specific kinds of employee-based failures. … Continue reading