Inlägg

Visar inlägg från 2011

Reasonable Fire Protection?

I have a new publication listed at my publication page! It is a research article published in the Journal of Risk Research. The article is based on a study conducted by two master students that I supervised on the topic of what counts as a reasonable level of fire protection. The thing is that in Sweden we have multiple actors engaging in the system of establishing a certain level of fire protection measures in buildings. We also have some regulation. It is when these actors and regulations start interacting that really interesting (and highly complex) phenomena arise. This is the core of the conducted study.

Basically we have a Swedish Law stating that every owner of a building ought to have a "reasonable extent of fire protection measures". This is not an uncommon way of formulating a law, it is inherently vague, open for different interpretations based on stakeholder interests, and gives rise to several goal-conflicts.

What the students that I supervised did was that the…

Swedish presentation: Organisatorisk Motståndskraft i Upptrappande situationer

Today I attend a conference organized by the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB). The conference is called "New knowledge for a safer society" and I am invited to give a short presentation about the research project on the theme of Organizational Resilience in Escalating Situations that I have been working in during most of my PhD project.

The presentation is not beautiful, but goes through some of the research-problems that we tried to address in the project and our means of addressing them. Simple as that (for those of you understanding Swedish that is). Mainly the presentation introduces safety as a system property emerging from the interaction of actors rather than the reliability of each individual actor (based on ideas from complexity theory and resilience engineering). In terms of what we have done in the project I went through the development of methodologies for team training and team performance assessment that we have developed and finally some of our theore…

Example of balanced and reflective news coverage

So, in Sweden we currently have another case of a person being brought to court for criminal negligence in his work. It is a nurse at the Swedish alarm call-centre who is accused for not having sent an ambulance  to a young man who said he could not breathe. The nurse answering the call saw all the signs of a panic attack and not the signs of a the really unusual spontaneously (without outer violence) broken spleen. The man eventually died.

Now, I am not an expert in this case, but I have followed the news reports. Most of them report how a nurse neglected all "the obvious signs" and the prosecutor also brought the nurse to court for manslaughter. The district court freed the nurse of the charges based on the reasoning that even though he should have sent an ambulance he did not cause the death of the young man, because the ambulance would not have made it in time and the outcome would not have been any different. The young man's mom has been active in discussing the ca…

"Från spexare till forskare": Presentation at the 25 year anniversary of the Fire Protection Engineering Program

Today I have been asked to give a short lecture at the 25 year anniversary of the Fire Protection Engineering Program, a program that I have once attended as a student, a program that is run at the department where I am employed as a PhD Candidate to do research and teach.

My topic, "Från spexare till forskare" can be translated into: "From actor in crazy student musicals to researcher". As a student I was heavily engaged in the Lund-ian traditional culture of setting up humorist musicals on historical themes. This gave me friends for life (and that is where I met my wife!), and was a great complement to my studies at the faculty of engineering.

Now, in today's talk I do not elaborate much on the engagement in student musical groups, but rather on the role of being researcher at the department of Fire Safety Engineering and Systems Safety, a department that has had a really positive development over its 25 years of existence. Today the department host 5 educat…

Swedish radio about power relations and team training in health care

Today the Swedish radio show "Kropp och själ" (Body and soul) broadcasted a program about power relations, hierarchies, team training, and bullying in the Swedish health care system. Guests were Eric Carlström who has done research on roles and relationships in health care, and Petter Westfeldt who works part-time at the medical simulation-centre in Stockholm. I met Petter a couple of years ago and also did some activities together with him related to team training and I think that he did well in explaining the main challenges and possibilities.

I have never met (so I think at least) Eric Carlström, but I think he was great in the program! I will definitely have to read up on his work. He really nailed some of the main problems that we have seen when working with health care safety.

Well, I will not extend this to some review of the show. Instead I encourage you to take the time to listen to it. Here you go:

Interacting with the "real" world

If there is anything I like the most about my work as a PhD Candidate (except for getting payed to problematize) it is the various opportunities I get to engage in discussions and interactions with people from the "real" worlds. My lecturing activities, in which I get to talk to audiences as diverse as safety representatives of explosive industries to junior medical doctors, are huge learning opportunities for me (hopefully also for them).

It is easy to call the university domain a protected workshop for insiders who develop their own language, models, theories, and "families". Again, having the opportunity to incorporate problematization in my work description is great (and I often joke about how the reality is getting more and more frightening every day): but it would be awful without the interaction with all people doing "real" work. Also, that the quality of the research conducted correlates with the interaction with the naturalistic worlds (in my ca…

Another (Swedish) presentation: Aspects of Patient Safety

Dear readers, I am about to give another presentation so of course I am sharing it with you. Feels like posting presentations is the only thing I do at the moment (well, I make them and I give them as well). However this is a rather big one and I will give it four times before the end of the year. Tomorrow will be the first one and the audience will be a rather decent number of junior doctors from the Sörmland-area (where I was born and raised!) in Sweden. The three following occasions will all be held in Lund. I'll give you the presentation, followed by some comments below.



The rhetoric outline of the presentation is (as you know if you have walked through others) a favorite: outlining different perspectives and follow their scientific roots and how they apply to the "real" (whatever that is) world. Of course one view will be presented as old and dirty and the other as new, inspiring and making a lot of sense :) The old and dirty view of patient safety is the (left) on…

The development of complexity theory

Today I have the opportunity to hold a lecture (in Swedish) on the topic: The development of complexity theory at the event "Ledningsdagen" in southern Sweden. It is a challenge trying to compress the fundamental ideas of complexity theory to fit a 90 minutes lecture. What I have done is to build the presentation as a time-line to explain complexity theory as a reaction to the mechanistic thinking of the enlightenment (applied in the organizational theory of the machine metaphor). Introducing the audience to chaos theory, quantum mechanics, general systems theory, cybernetics and postmodern philosophy (as a 10 minutes introduction... wish me luck!) we move on further to the emergence of complexity theory. To explain complexity theory I use the central concepts of the movement as outlined by Paul Cilliers (R.I.P). 


So after this introduction to complexity theory by placing it in a historical context, I will initiate a discussion about the application of complexity theory in c…

From Crew Resource Management to Operational Resilience

Dear readers, in June I went to the fourth Resilience Engineering Symposium to present the paper From Crew Resource Management to Operational Resilience(just click the link to get the paper) which was written by me and my two colleagues and friends Eder Henriqson and Nicklas Dahlström


Today I have the pleasure of going to Linköping to present the key ideas of the paper at the yearly meeting for Swedish CRM-instructors organized by the Swedish Human Factors Network.

My presentation is not the "we are doing it all wrong"-presentation. Rather a hint at towards where I think we should be heading with our future efforts in team training and team performance assessment. The paper (and presentation) argues for the need to embrace the ideas of complexity theory into our team training programs and to step away from the ideas of cognitive models and behaviourism - models that are not adapted to the complexities of normal work in any high-risk system.

The presentation is structured a…

More reports = Higher risk?

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I never thought I would ever publish a clip from Fox News. Well, I was wrong. Below you find a clip in which Fox reports that the number of reported incursions in the American air traffic operation (between aircraft and aircraft, between aircraft and ground vehicle, between aircraft and luggage lying around on the taxi ways) has increased dramatically over the last years.

Now, there are (at least) two ways of telling this story, and Fox actually tells both. The first way is to sound terrified and look at it as a trend of decreasing safety (or drift into failure if you like). However there is also a second way. Note how the report turns in a direction of interpreting the increased numbers as a sign of an improved safety climate with controllers more willing to send in their reports without fear of getting punished for their content.



In complex high-risk systems we need information to flow about upcoming risks, problems that occur or problems that might occur. These systems need the p…

New blog layout

Dear readers, Google has launched a new blog layout called "Dynamic Views". I have decided to try it out. This new layout gives you as readers more control over the appearance of the blog. I have chosen it to be in "magazine"-mode per default, but to the top left you as the reader can change to whatever layout you prefer.
Google has promised that there will be gadgets also in this new layout so hopefully you will soon be able to follow my twitter feed (bergstrom_johan) on my blog again.
The tabs "presentations" and "publications" are still there, on the top left. If you scroll down they disappear, but if you just sweep the top area with your mouse you'll be able to access them.

Listen to Sidney Dekker lecturing about drift into failure

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Dear readers, I am happy to be able to offer you a one-hour sound file of Sidney Dekker lecturing on the topic of drift into failure (the title of his latest book). The lecture was held at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and the sound file embedded here should be credited the organizers of the festival.

It is a typical Sidney-lecture, jumping like a good comedian from really deep and serious stories to crazy jokes in a seemingly improvised manner. The outline of the talk ("let me share with you some stories") has some similarities to another really famous lecture that has over the last week been linked to, in memorial to its writer, at uncountably (if that is not a word it should become one) many places online. It is a nice way of building your argument, the narrative technique.

"What is this drift-thing all about?" you may wonder considering whether to play the file or not. Well, very briefly, the way Sidney uses the concept is as a contemporary theoretical conce…

One week until application deadline for our master program!

Yes, dear readers, that is right. Only one week remaining until our application window for the Master Program in Human Factors and Systems Safety closes. All of you who intent to apply, make sure to get the application form signed by your employer and submitted to Alexandra Hertz before October 15.

We are then looking forward to have you over in Lund for the first learning laboratory that takes place on January 16-20.

Swedish television reporting from our project

The last one and a half years I have been involved in a project concerning the development of a team training concept for health care staff. In 2008 the Lund University School of Aviation was contacted by anaesthesiologists at the hospital in the Swedish city Norrköping. They expressed concerns about the situations in which they perform emergency Caesarean sections, situations characterized by risks for two patients at the same time, and rapid organizational changes in which many different professions are brought in to the same situation.

The last one and a half years I have been working together with two colleagues (Eric Wahren and Isis Amer-Wåhlin) in developing a concept for classroom-based interprofessional team training to work with this kind of high-risk situations in the health care domain. The result is a system similar in structure to the one used in aviation where basic and recurrent courses in "Crew Resource Management" (CRM) are mandatory for all pilots. We have…

Mårtens svar (följt av ytterligare en kommentar från min sida)

Då Mårten Schultz utan framgång försökte publicera ett svar till mitt senaste inlägg som en kommentar kommer det här istället som ett inlägg. Mårten skriver:

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Hej igen. Nu sitter jag litet trångt och kan inte svara så långt som jag skulle vilja, men vill kort framhålla att den problematik med oaktsamhetsansvaret som du framhåller har varit föremål för åtskillig filosofisk diskussion, ofta under rubriken "moral luck". I ansvarsrättsliga sammanhang utgår vi ofta från att ansvar förutsätter dels oaktsamhet, att någon gör fel. Det är en händelse som var inom aktörens kontroll. Att någon gör fel betyder inte att hon agerat särskilt klandervärt. Vi gör alla fel, vi är alla oaktsamma. För att rättsligt ansvar skall föreligga för oaktsamheten krävs det emellertid något mer, nämligen att oaktsamheten leder till något som är negativt i någon bemärkelse. En skada, en fara, en död. Detta innefattar två objektiva rekvisit: En viss effekt och ett samband mellan oak…

Diskussionen om oaktsamhet fortsätter

Detta är en fortsättning på diskussionen som återges i blogginlägget nedan. Då jag inte vill kapa en kommentarstråd på Fokus hemsida för en lång diskussion om en fråga som inte var den primära för den ursprungliga Fokus-artikeln skriver jag här istället. Jag uppskattar verkligen att Mårten återkom med ett svar till mina kommentarer. Mårtens svar finner ni i kommentarsfältet vid följande länk och här följer mitt:
Hej Mårten! Tack för ditt svar. Först måste jag be om ursäkt om jag har agerat oaktsamt och blandat ihop fallen (mea culpa :-) ). Vi kan mycket väl referera till olika dialysfall. Det jag tänker på (och trodde att du refererade till) är ett klassiskt fall från Linköping 1983. Kanske inte samma som det där din pappa var åklagare. 
Den stora skillnaden i våra ståndpunkter är att du ser oaktsamhet som ett okontroversiellt koncept. Det gör inte jag. Då du skriver att "det VAR ju oaktsamt" ser jag det på ett annat sätt. Jag ser inte att någon handling som ett faktum VAR …

Vården som juridisk frizon?

Dear readers, this post will be in Swedish. The reason is that I have gotten myself into a debate (concerning legal prosecution of human error in health care) that is held in Swedish.

Jag är i min forskning mycket engagerad i frågor om hur vi skapar säkrare system, ett exempel på ett sådant system är sjukvården. Frågan om hur man ska skapa en maximal patientsäkerhet är svår, mångfacetterad och kan belysas ur ett flertal perspektiv. Dock står systemsäkerhetsforskningen enad kring att klassiska juridiska metoder (genom straff och sanktioner av personal som sägs begå fel) är fel väg att gå. Det skapar ett slutet system oförmöget att lära.

På detta tema skrev Mårten Schultz, professor i civilrätt vid Uppsala Universitet, en artikel i dagens upplaga av tidskriften Fokus vilken jag prenumererar på sedan en tid tillbaka. Hans artikel med titeln Vården är ingen juridisk frizon visar på ett mycket typiskt juridiskt perspektiv på frågan om att man måste kunna ställa personal i vården tillsva…

I'm in a movie!

Well it is maybe rather to be called an informative film. Anyway, the Swedish Fire Protection Association (SFPA, or Brandskyddsföreningen in Swedish) asked me to participate in a film about responsibility for fire protection measures. I have held some lectures at events organized by SFPA and I have also supervised two master students in writing a thesis on the issue of how different stakeholders interact to establish a certain ("reasonable") level of fire protection in a society. The thesis, written in Swedish is available on the following link. Hopefully the thesis will also be published as a scientific paper later this year.

So, back to the SFPA-film. It is called "Who... me?" and I participate to problematize (got to love that word!) the idea of holding single individuals accountable, in traditional legal terms, for problems that are rooted much deeper into the complexities of the system as a whole. The film is in Swedish and if you are interested in responsib…

A video of one of my lectures

Dear readers, I have the pleasure of being able to show you the video of a lecture that I held in March 2011 at the "Uppsala läns Landstings Säkerhetsdag". The lecture is in Swedish and to get as much as possible out of watching, please try to follow the slides (posted below the video) - because they were not captured by the camera.

The lecture is on the theme safety culture and accident theory. I hope you will find it interesting.


Johan Bergström om säkerhetskultur och olycksteori from Johan Bergström on Vimeo.

Assessing team performance

Much of my work is focused around issues of team performance. How to design training for team performance, and how to assess team performance. Regarding the question of how to assess team performance I have now a new publication to share. It was recently published in the journal Cognition, Technology and Work and continues the work that was published in a previous paper (the one published in the Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management). Please see my publication page for the full references. The new publication presents the results from a study made by the student Hanna Palmqvist at our master program in Risk Management Engineering. I, together with my Brazilian colleague Eder Henriqson, supervised Hanna in her work to develop a protocol for assessing team performance and test it in a pilot study. You might think that there must be several protocols for assessing team performance out there, and that is true. The problem is however that they are all based on behavioristic and m…

Another presentation on the topic of team training (Swedish)

Today I visited a meeting held by the centre for medical simulation at Lund University. The meeting was held in the facilities of the lovely Ystad Saltsjöbad. Lunch and fika almost literally on the beach a beautiful Swedish summer day! I did a two-hour presentation on the topic of team training and went through the sub-topics of why bother with team training, how to do it, how to evaluate it and finally I had some discussion questions that were specifically designed for the organization. It was a nice afternoon with good discussions and interesting thoughts got expressed by the participants.

Below you find the presentation. It is in Swedish and I hope that you will find it enjoyable to click your way through it.

Now it is vacation time!

Application window open for the Master Program in Human Factors and Systems Safety

Since my co-supervisor professor Sidney Dekker left Lund University for Griffith University in Brisbane Australia, I have taken the responsibility for taking on the master program in Human Factors and Systems Safety that was founded by Sidney.

The program is a one-year master program (60 ECTS), but being intended for practitioners, who work in different safety critical industries all over the world, the course curriculum is spread over two years. Except for three course weeks in Lund during the first year of study the program is distance-based. The students will be guided through the relevant literature and meet up with each other through our online course system, facilitated by our excellent teachers. The program is run as commissioned education, meaning that the student's employer pays for the education. The fee to complete the entire program is 140 000 SEK.

We will start the next course in January 16-20 2012 with an intense course week in Lund.

The application form is now avail…

I love the Swedish summer!

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Team training in complex industries

Some of my work is currently focusing on issues of team training. Recently I participated in the 4th Resilience Engineering Symposium with a paper (written together with two colleagues) reviewing the epistemological assumptions of team training as traditionally performed in high-risk industries such as aviation and shipping. We suggested that with the increasing complexities of socio-technical industries we cannot train our teams without considering the implications of such complexity.

When traditional training concepts carries the risk of simplifying and denying complexity (sometimes ending up in only encouraging the participants to try harder, be focused and vigilant) we outlined an agenda that we called Operational Resilience - with a specific focus on understanding and managing the problems and opportunities that follows with increased complexity, both for team training and team performance assessments (will have a scientific paper published concerning team performance assessment…

Resilience Engineering

Currently listening to the final presentation at the 4th Resilience Engineering Symposium in Sophia Antipolis, France. Last Wednesday I presented a paper called From Crew Resource Management to Operational Resiliencethat I have written together with Eder Henriqson (see the Brazil-trip below) and Nicklas Dahlström (see the Dubai-trip below).

Resilience thinking is definitely a promising and encouraging way to proceed in the field of managing safety and risk in complex and dynamic environments. This symposium has focused on practical implications of Resilience Engineering (which is basically a 6 year old think-tank) and some of them are really impressive. However there is an obvious risk that Resilience becomes another folk-model that is discussed as "sufficient" or "deficient" in organizations. That was never the purpose of introducing the concept and I feel there need to be voices raised here to put forward that concern. We do not want to see the conclusion "…

Updated page

Well, I decided to expand this page a bit to include publications and presentations. This is to start using it as  my personal webpage rather than as a travel-blog. I hope that you will enjoy (and that I will be good at updating it in the future).

Last day in Dubai

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Life in Lund has begun! Arrived yesterday evening after another niiice flight with Emirates back to Copenhagen via Frankfurt (last leg with SAS... not as nice as Emirates... not even close).

My last day in Dubai I went for an own tour to the old part of the city. I visited the city museum which gave a great and broad picture of the history and development of Dubai. I attach some pictures. I also went to see the activity at the Creek; the water which is the link between the Persian Gulf and the old parts of Dubai. It is crazy traffic going on on the Creek with boats looking more dangerous than cardiac surgery taking people from one side of the Creek to the other.

After my visit to the old city centre Nicklas took me and his kids to a really nice hotel buffet downtown Dubai. A great end to a great stay in the city of life!

Tomorrow I am facing the reality of work in Lund again. Actually it is really nice to be back - I'm really looking forward to see all my colleagues. After all I h…

Great week at Emirates Airlines Training College

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It is Thursday afternoon and that means the end of the working week in Dubai (weekend is Friday-Saturday here). It has been a great week! Nicklas has been a great host, his kids are great and our activities at the Emirates training college have been highly successful. We have been running a 1,5 days crisis management training program with two groups of cadetes (Emirates employed pilot students) and today a one day demonstration session of our training program with instructors (pilots) of Crew Resource Management (the concept used in aviation (and other domains) world-wide to train pilots in communication, decision making, information management, leadership, teamwork, etc.).

The Emirates training college building is pretty cool (well, modest with Dubai standards) and built like an aircraft. We have been conducting the training in the conference room located in the cockpit of the building (see picture).





Yesterday Nicklas showed me the cabin-crew training facilities at Emirates. They are …