One event, three investigations: The reproduction of a safety norm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Following an adverse event in a Swedish university hospital in 2010, three separate investigations seeking causal factors were conducted. We here review each of the analyses to see whether they together generate the kind of epistemological pluralism that could contribute to a systemic understanding of, and learning from, the event. Our content analysis shows that, while using vastly different amounts of time and resources, all three investigations make the same analytical choice to construct the causal factors as a deviation from norm in the event's immediate temporal and spatial proximity. We recognise that this both represents a strong discourse in the community analysing adverse events and seems to fulfil certain psychological purposes. Furthermore, we suggest that thorough analysis of adverse events in healthcare need to include aspects of system interaction from the micro to the macro, cognitive work configuration and design, as well as variability as a resource to harness rather than a threat to limit and control.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Social Sciences
  • Medical and Health Sciences


  • adverse event, Safety norm, Healthcare, Discourse, Causal factor, Investigation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-83
Number of pages9
JournalSafety Science
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar
Publication categoryResearch

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