What is HRO?

In 2001 Karl Weick and Kathleen Sutcliffe wrote their pioneering book ‘Managing the Unexpected. Assuring high performance in an age of complexity ‘. In this book they present the results of their years of research into how organizations that can not afford to make mistakes (think of first aid stations, aircraft carriers, fire brigades, nuclear power plants, NASA), are organized and succeed, over and over again, in managing unexpected or undesired events in the right way.

The organizing principles (five characteristics and four conditions) they describe, which these so-called High Reliable Organizations (HRO organizations *) apply, also prove very useful to other organizations, for project teams or other groups that have to achieve things with each other. The key to success lies in strengthening employees’ ways of looking, seeing, thinking, organizing and taking actions. which increase the collective awareness. HRO organizations appear to develop a high degree of resilience and tenacity, because of which they are more capable of dealing with unwanted and unexpected events. Therefore, they perform better and show a high degree of reliability.

KW2          KS2
prof. dr. Karl E. Weick      prof. dr. Kathleen M. Sucliffe

*) HRO in literature

In literature, the term HRO is used as a verb, as well as a noun. We use the term in the first place as a verb: HRO stands for High Reliability Organizing. High Reliability Organizing is also called Mindful Organizing (or in Dutch ” organizing consciously “). Thus, we use the term HRO to indicate the process of organizing. By an HRO organization we mean an organization that has acquired this kind of organizing. To avoid this confusion, we lately use High Reliability Seeking and High Reliability Seeking Organizations (HRS organizations).