Systems ambiguity: A framework to assess risks and predict potential systems failures

Ayse P. Lrurses, Yan Xiao, Kristin Seidl, Vinay Vaidya, Grant Bochicchio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

To be a high-reliability organization, organizations need to continually assess risks and predict potential failures before even they actually occur. In this paper, we present a new method to uncover and assess risks and failures embedded in a work system: systems ambiguity framework. We define systems ambiguity as uncertainty or vagueness that may prevent a work system from achieving its purpose. We identified five main types of ambiguity in a work system: task ambiguity, responsibility ambiguity, expectation ambiguity, method ambiguity, and exception ambiguity. Examples for each type of ambiguity are provided from a qualitative study aimed at identifying the underlying causes of non-compliance to evidence based guidelines in intensive care units. We argue that systems ambiguity framework can be used alone or in conjunction with well-known risk assessment methods (e.g., root cause analysis, failure modes and effects analysis) to uncover systems failures both reactively and proactively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
Pages626-630
Number of pages5
Volume2
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes
Event51st Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2007 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Oct 1 2007Oct 5 2007

Other

Other51st Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, HFES 2007
CountryUnited States
CityBaltimore, MD
Period10/1/0710/5/07

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

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  • Cite this

    Lrurses, A. P., Xiao, Y., Seidl, K., Vaidya, V., & Bochicchio, G. (2007). Systems ambiguity: A framework to assess risks and predict potential systems failures. In Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Vol. 2, pp. 626-630)