Resilience Markers for Safer Systems and Organisations

  • Jonathan Back
  • Dominic Furniss
  • Michael Hildebrandt
  • Ann Blandford
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5219)


If computer systems are to be designed to foster resilient performance it is important to be able to identify contributors to resilience. The emerging practice of Resilience Engineering has identified that people are still a primary source of resilience, and that the design of distributed systems should provide ways of helping people and organisations to cope with complexity. Although resilience has been identified as a desired property, researchers and practitioners do not have a clear understanding of what manifestations of resilience look like. This paper discusses some examples of strategies that people can adopt that improve the resilience of a system. Critically, analysis reveals that the generation of these strategies is only possible if the system facilitates them. As an example, this paper discusses practices, such as reflection, that are known to encourage resilient behavior in people. Reflection allows systems to better prepare for oncoming demands. We show that contributors to the practice of reflection manifest themselves at different levels of abstraction: from individual strategies to practices in, for example, control room environments. The analysis of interaction at these levels enables resilient properties of a system to be ‘seen’, so that systems can be designed to explicitly support them. We then present an analysis of resilience at an organisational level within the nuclear domain. This highlights some of the challenges facing the Resilience Engineering approach and the need for using a collective language to articulate knowledge of resilient practices across domains.


Human error distributed cognition control rooms nuclear domain 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Back
    • 1
  • Dominic Furniss
    • 1
  • Michael Hildebrandt
    • 2
  • Ann Blandford
    • 1
  1. 1.University College London Interaction Centre 
  2. 2.Industrial Psychology DivisionOECD Halden Reactor Project 

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