Moorkamp, Matthijs, Kramer, Erik-Hans, Van Gulijk, Coen and Ale, Ben (2013) Safety management within Task Force Uruzgan: A report of working with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. In: Safety, Reliability and Risk Analysis: Beyond the Horizon. Taylor & Francis Group, London, pp. 3127-3134. ISBN 978-1-138-00123-7

In this paper we present a conceptualization of safety management that is based on the cybernetic concepts of “controllability” and “control capacity”. In particular, we explore what this conceptualization means for safety management of the Dutch Army’s UAV unit that was part of Task Force Uruzgan (TFU) in the years 2006–2007 and 2008–2009. In this research we applied a qualitative research strategy. We conducted 20 interviews, 13 with employees of the UAV unit and 7 with key TFU-partners with whom the unit had to cooperate. We analyzed the interviews by means of the concepts developed in the theoretical framework. By going back and forth between theory and practice, we show that it was rather problematic for the unit to develop controllability and operate safely. We conclude with a reflection on a safety management strategy for this particular unit and the relevance of our conceptualization for other organizations.

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