Toward an epidemiology of safety and security risks: an organizational vulnerability assessment in international airports

Bongiovanni, I. and Newton, C. (2019) Toward an epidemiology of safety and security risks: an organizational vulnerability assessment in international airports. Risk Analysis, 39(6), pp. 1281-1297. (doi:10.1111/risa.13238)

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International airports are complex sociotechnical systems that have an intrinsic potential to develop safety and security disruptions. In the absence of appropriate defenses, and when the potential for disruption is neglected, organizational crises can occur and jeopardize aviation services. This investigation examines the ways in which modern international airports can be “authors of their own misfortune” by adopting practices, attitudes, and behaviors that could increase their overall level of vulnerability. A sociotechnical perspective, the macroergonomic approach, is applied in this research to detect the potential organizational determinants of vulnerability in airport operations. Qualitative data nurture the case study on international airports produced by the present research. Findings from this study highlight that systemic weaknesses frequently reside in areas at the intersection of physical, organizational, and social spaces. Specific pathways of vulnerability can be drawn across these areas, involving the following systemic layers: individual, task, tools and technology, environment, and organization. This investigation expands the existing literature on the dynamics that characterize crisis incubation in multiorganization, multistakeholder systems such as international airports and provides practical recommendations for airport managers to improve their capabilities to early detect symptoms of organizational vulnerability.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research was a part of the work undertaken by the project “Airports of the Future” (LP0990135), a multi-disciplinary international collaborative research project exploring the complexity of modern airports and addressing conflicts between aviation security and the passenger experience, funded by the Australian Research Council Linkage Project scheme.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bongiovanni, Dr Ivano
Authors: Bongiovanni, I., and Newton, C.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Management
Journal Name:Risk Analysis
ISSN (Online):1539-6924
Published Online:19 November 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 Society for Risk Analysis
First Published:First published in Risk Analysis 39(6):1281-1297
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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