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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:53430
Doc. No:TL23384
Call number:‭3234088‬
Main Entry:Julie Marie Novak
Title & Author:Risk communication in high -reliability organizations: Democratic communication as the bridge between mindfulness and mindlessnessJulie Marie Novak
College:North Dakota State University
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:174
Abstract:Although the United States' food supply may be the world's safest, millions experience foodborne illness every year. Since 9/11, risks related to bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases have joined the myriad of risks that threaten the food supply. Leaders affiliated with governmental agencies and food industries along with the general public fear unintentional and intentional threats to the food supply and subsequent crises in personal, organizational, and national health and wellbeing. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded multidisciplinary research to study a Midwestern turkey slaughter and processing plant that had consistently surpassed quality and safety standards, unlike seemingly similar plants. The plant had no history of recalled product or any link to outbreaks of foodborne illness. This dissertation research endeavored to reveal employee perceptions about communication practices that would explain the plant's exemplary performance. The mixed method, case study approach transpired through sequential explanatory and exploratory phases. Phase one empirically assessed the fit of Weick and Sutcliffe's model for High Reliability Organizations (HRO) by examining employee perceptions related to risk and food safety. Employees perceived the plant as an HRO. Phase two identified concrete, explanatory communication practices. Interviewed employees perceived the democratic communication practices of individual voice, individual influence, access to information, organizational openness, and foregrounded training as ways of interacting that create and sustain an HRO. Phase three, a quantitatively exploratory study, tested the relationship between democratic communication practices and organizational mindfulness. Multiple regression results indicated that democratic communication practices explained a significant portion of the variance for mindfulness. This dissertation serves as a pragmatic response to concerns about food safety. When combined, the results suggest that the democratic communication practices of individual voice, access to information, organizational openness, and foregrounded training help to create and to sustain organizational mindfulness. Moreover, organizational mindfulness appears to reduce risk by improving risk detection, assessment, and management. In order to protect against the risks and threats of tomorrow, including possible attacks of intentional sabotage, organizations would be advised to create and to sustain collective mindfulness by fostering democratic communication practices.
Subject:Health and environmental sciences; Communication and the arts; Social sciences; Democratic communication; Food industries; High-reliability organizations; Mindfulness; Risk communication; Communication; Public health; Organizational behavior; Organization theory; Risk factors; Reliability; Democracy; 0703:Organizational behavior; 0703:Organization theory; 0573:Public health; 0459:Communication
Added Entry:T. Sellnow
Added Entry:North Dakota State University