Challenges in Designing Resilient Socio-technical Systems: A Case Study of Railway Tunnel Projects

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceeding


This paper presents a case study of decision-making at the design stage of a socio-technical system where resilience at the global level of the system was constrained by the local perspectives adopted by the different stakeholders. The study is based on interviews with key decision-makers involved in the design stage of six railway tunnel projects in Sweden. The results show that differences in roles and perspectives among the involved actors created double binds and led to extensive discussions and deadlocks during decision-making in the majority of the studied projects. In these projects agreements could only be reached by relying on the outcome from previous railway tunnel projects, regardless differences in project-specific aspects. A significant impact from local actors during decision-making increased the potential for suboptimizations and resulted in a limited focus on the system’s resilience from a regional and national perspective. The findings point at the need for more emphasis in the field of resilience engineering on crossorganisational aspects in order to gain increased understanding of the challenges related to improving resilience of socio-technical systems.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Civil Engineering
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Building Technologies


  • Resilience Engineering
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the fourth resilience engineering symposium
EditorsErik Hollnagel, Eric Rigaud, Denis Besnard
PublisherPresses des Mines
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9782911256479
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Publication categoryResearch
EventResilience Engineering Symposium, 2011 - Sophia Antipolis, France
Duration: 2011 Jun 82011 Jun 10
Conference number: 4


ConferenceResilience Engineering Symposium, 2011
CitySophia Antipolis

Total downloads

No data available