Other Stories of Resilient Safety Management in the Norwegian Offshore Sector: Resilience Engineering, Bullshit and the De-Politicization of Danger

Erik Mygind du Plessis, Bjarne Vandeskog

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    This paper explores the different conceptual meanings of the term resilience as it is used and interpreted by industry actors in the Norwegian oil and gas industry, as well as the possible wider ramifications of this use. This is done by presenting three different theoretical readings, or stories, of the recent proliferation of the term in the industry. The stories are supported by empirical material stemming from document studies, interviews and ethnographic fieldwork in the industry. Safety Management academics and practitioners in the industry generally rely on conceptions derived from Resilience Engineering (RE), which is consequently the perspective used in the first story. Here, we outline the RE-perspective and explore how it might justify the spread of, and apparent need for, resilience, as well as those empirical qualities of operations that the concept purports to refer to. The second story utilizes the concept of organizational bullshit in order to examine some of the ways in which the resilience concept is used to impress and invoke organizational legitimacy, without necessarily having much tangible connection to day-to-day operations. The third reading connects the resilience concept to the rise of neoliberalism, and explores its potential for depoliticizing risk and danger as well as facilitating the responsibilization of offshore workers. In addition to presenting the different conceptual meanings of resilience in the Norwegian oil and gas sector, the paper also provides resources for discussing the potential ramifications of these conceptions
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number101096
    JournalScandinavian Journal of Management
    Issue number1
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


    • Resilience
    • Resilience engineering
    • Bullshit
    • Neoliberalism
    • Off-shore work

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