Monday, November 15, 2010

Magical Convergence

Sometimes without any formal plan, things come together in a good way.  The topic of my dissertation is supposed to be about the affect of a safety management system on measured performance and perceptions of safety (or perhaps risk) in the workplace.  That is still a big question - whether to focus on safety or risk.  The only real difference (as best I can tell) is how it impacts the literature review....but it may also impact the instrument used to measure it.  I need to read much more before I make a decision. 

So, I have been researching safety management systems and wanted to make vPSI the system of focus in my study.  vPSI works by changing the way people solve problems; the metric measures effectiveness in solving problems with idea that better solutions will prevent problems from recurring.  A huge cultural change that results from implementation and use of this system is that workers are more likely to report near misses.  The system rewards near miss reporting.  Near misses happen because of problems (generally), so by addressing these problems with solutions that work to lessen probability of recurrence, risk is reduced.  When risk is reduced, we assume people perceive increase in safety. 

I may not get approval to do my study, but I was given a project last week - develop a near miss reporting system that all the refineries will implement.  This fits perfectly with my dissertation.  In fact, I could use this instead of vPSI...if I could get any sort of approval at all.  The great part is I could control timing since it's my project.  Near miss reporting is an interesting topic, or I should say reluctance to report is an interesting topic.  So on my agenda for this week, I must learn how it makes sense to report near misses and how to measure them.  I think it makes sense to use a weighted measurement of some sort; some issues are more important than others.  The other factor is that I am cleared to do a Six Sigma project.  Six Sigma implies I will have to measure's a huge part of my dissertation.  These mesh perfectly.  I'm doing all the work for the all I need is an OK to use it.

I am running out of time on getting approval.  Two weeks and if I have no approval, I will have to change topics.  I will do what needs to be done to finish this thing on time.  Why does everything have to be so damn difficult?            

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