“As far as is Reasonably Practicable”: Socially Constructing Risk, Safety, and Accidents in Military Operations

Journal of Business Ethics 91 (1):21-33 (2010)
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Abstract

This research examines how the meaning of risk, safety, and accidents are constructed in a military context. We compare meanings of these constructs among members working for three organizations (Health and Safety Executive, Ministry of Defence, and Royal Marine Commandos) jointly responsible for planning and executing "safe" military training and maneuvres in a particular unit of the United Kingdom's Royal Marine Commandos. The discourse among these members embodies the inter-organizational collaboration over military safety, and through an analysis of this discourse we situate and frame shared and contested meanings of risk, safety, and accidents within this particular community of practice. We discuss implications of these findings for theory and practice, rallying for a more contextualized understanding of what risk, safety, and accidents mean in organizational life and thus the relative nature of the standards to which organizations are expected to adhere

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