Rule- and Role-Retreat: An Empirical Study of Procedures and Resilience

Johan Bergström, Nicklas Dahlström, Roel van Winsen, Margareta Lützhöft, Sidney Dekker, James Nyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To manage complex and dynamic socio-technical systems places demands on teams to deal with a range of more and less foreseeable situations. Three groups of participants with different maritime experiences were studied using the same simulation of a ship to better understand the role of generic competencies (e.g. information management, communication and coordination, decision making, and effect control) play in such high-demand situations. Groups with moderate maritime experience were able to balance contextual knowledge with use of generic competencies to successfully manage unexpected and escalating situations. Novices, lacking contextual knowledge, performed less well. Groups with the most maritime expertise remained committed to presumed procedures and roles and did not perform as well as the other two groups. The results suggest that training to operate complex socio-technical systems safely and effectively should go beyond procedures and include development of generic competencies. This could provide operators with better tools to enhance organizational resilience in unexpected and escalating situations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-90
JournalJournal of Maritime Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Building Technologies
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Engineering and Technologies not elsewhere specified
  • Other Civil Engineering


  • training
  • resilience
  • emergency management
  • procedures
  • simulation


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