Abstract

Taking effective measure in the area of improvement and change management work in relation to HSE (Health, Safety and Environment) is an organizational challenge that requires effective collaboration across disciplines and interfaces. Shared responsibility and consequently collective learning is a prerequisite for improvement of single activities, work processes to increased safety and total performance.

In this paper we argue that collective learning is an important condition in creating improved safety and resilience in drilling operations. This is to say that HSE is about organizational development (OD) focusing specifically on collaborative capability for communication and operational decision-making. We elaborate on this issue in relation to implementation of new advanced information and communication technology (ICT) and the participatory process in exploring how to use ICT to support collaborative work and integration of all disciplines and participants involved in one shared real-time collaboration environment (SCE).

The paper is based on a large R & D program on drilling and well within Integrated Operations (IO) in the Norwegian petroleum industry including empirical work done in the drilling and well (D&W) department in two Norwegian oil and gas companies. Parts of the empirical work relates to the implementation of equipments for optimization and automatisation of drilling operations on the rig as well as the development and use of an Integrated Drilling Simulator (IDS-) system in one of the drilling units on Ekofisk area (Rommetveit et al. 2008).

Resilience is being defined in Hollnagel (2006) as - "the ability of a system or an organization to react to and recover from disturbances at an early stage, with minimal effect on the dynamic stability". This ability depends on the capability of foresight, coping and recovery, as described by Westrum (2006): "Foresee and avoid" - resilience is the ability to prevent something bad from happening, "Coping with ongoing trouble" - or the ability to prevent something bad from becoming worse and "Repairing after Catastrophe" - or the ability to recover from something bad once it has happened. The different types of threats are understood as deriving from combinations of normal variability in complex sociotechnical systems. As normal variability of both system conditions and performance is a source of both successes and failures, it is necessary to understand the nature of normal work and the strategies that are used to cope with conditional variations in order to understand how these are turned into success, which is seen as the flip side of failure. We argue that the collective learning involved in establishing and maintaining situational awareness of operational conditions is an important factor for building resilient organizations.

We have observed that collective learning is about balancing and optimizing together three principal kinds of learning dimensions labelled How-, What- and Why-learning. These dimensions are identified as essential for developing improved collaborative capabilities and building the resilient organization. Each dimension is supported by its corresponding learning arena for common knowledge sharing and reflection of the drilling process as a whole. In this way, we have found that more effective work processes supporting knowledge sharing and learning can take place independently of organizational barriers, disciplines and across interfaces and consequently creating more resilient drilling operations.

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