Reason (1997, p. 195) defines a just culture as‘…an atmosphere of trust in which people are encouraged, even rewarded, for providing essential safety-related information – but in which they are also clear about where the line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.’ The other important elements of a safety culture are to have a strong reporting, flexible and learning culture (Reason 1997). Reason (1997) further states that the learning culture is the easiest to engineer however is the most difficult to make work. Pettersson and Nyce (2011) state that just culture is where individuals in an organisation want to be open about failures and mistakes. Lucier (2003) argues that if you can encourage team members to document their mistakes with no fear of further action, you will be able to establish a useful knowledge system.
Reason (1997, 2000) also reports on implementing defences in depth (swiss cheese model) where one identifies that projects have errors (holes) in them and one construct layers of defences to catch them. The Global Aviation Information Network describes a just culture within the aviation industry as a system that has accessible memory and underpins a learning culture (Stastny & Garin 2004). Stastny and Garin discuss the benefits and obstacles in implementing a just culture and there appears to be a lot of similarities with project management lessons learned process.
What are your thoughts on how ‘just culture’ can be applied to the project management lessons learned process?