Interorganizational complexity and organizational accident risk: A literature review
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionSafety Science. 2016, 82 9-17. 10.1016/j.ssci.2015.08.010
Due to increased outsourcing in many industries, organizations are becoming larger and more interorganizationally complex and numerous operations now require cooperation among employees from different organizations. This paper presents a review of empirical literature addressing safety issues in complex interorganizational systems wherein the potential for major organizational accidents is present. Thematic analysis of the literature resulted in four main themes: economic pressures, disorganization, dilution of competence and organizational differences. The themes were viewed in light of different theoretical perspectives on organizational accident risk. The findings suggest that issues due to interorganizational complexity can hinder efficient safety management and thereby elevate the risk of organizational accidents. It is emphasized that further research is needed to better understand the implications of interorganizational complexity on safety management.