Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Keywords

vocational narratives, leadership, science communication, high reliability organizations, organizational communication, safety culture, risk, nuclear

Department

Communication

Major

Physics and Organizational Communication

Abstract

While research has been conducted on safety and risk management in technical agencies as well as vocational histories of senior executives, little research has been done to determine how a senior executive's vocational narrative helps him or her develop a safety mindset. The goal of this study is guided by the following research question: How does the vocational history of a senior government executive in a technical agency help contribute to his or her sense of safety and risk management? Through the use of in-depth, vocational narrative interviews with retired nuclear executives and thematic analysis, this study found reoccurring themes connecting the respondents’ vocational histories. Three overarching, connecting themes emerged: “Learning from Careful Reflection,” “Expecting Exemplary Behavior and Work”, and “Managing People in High Stress Situations.” Vocational narratives position respondents as committed to safety and committed to the mission and values of the NRC. The three major themes of their narratives outline important principles of a strong safety mindset and how a career of intermingling experience with reflection helps to create and sustain a strong commitment to safety.

Faculty Mentor

Dorothy Andreas

Funding Source or Research Program

Summer Undergraduate Research Program

Presentation Session

Session C

Location

Rockwell Academic Center 170

Start Date

3-4-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

3-4-2015 4:15 PM

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Apr 3rd, 4:00 PM Apr 3rd, 4:15 PM

Vocational Narratives of Senior Executive Retirees in a Technical Agency and Their Sense of Safety in the Workplace

Rockwell Academic Center 170

While research has been conducted on safety and risk management in technical agencies as well as vocational histories of senior executives, little research has been done to determine how a senior executive's vocational narrative helps him or her develop a safety mindset. The goal of this study is guided by the following research question: How does the vocational history of a senior government executive in a technical agency help contribute to his or her sense of safety and risk management? Through the use of in-depth, vocational narrative interviews with retired nuclear executives and thematic analysis, this study found reoccurring themes connecting the respondents’ vocational histories. Three overarching, connecting themes emerged: “Learning from Careful Reflection,” “Expecting Exemplary Behavior and Work”, and “Managing People in High Stress Situations.” Vocational narratives position respondents as committed to safety and committed to the mission and values of the NRC. The three major themes of their narratives outline important principles of a strong safety mindset and how a career of intermingling experience with reflection helps to create and sustain a strong commitment to safety.