The Bias of Method Design in Risk
Anything that is designed hides the assumptions and philosophy of the designer. The methodology (philosophy) of the designer is not visible but is rather hidden in the method, what is enacted. So, if one looks at the iCam method one tends not to see its bias (https://safetyrisk.net/deconstructing-icam-useful-or-useless/ ).
There is no template, form or checklist in safety that is neutral or objective no matter what the AIHS Chapter on Ethics tells you (https://safetyrisk.net/the-aihs-bok-and-ethics-check-your-gut/ ). Indeed, the myth of objectivity simply makes one more dishonest as one invokes the methodology of a method.
If one adopts a Behaviourist method then one invokes its philosophy through that method, the beliefs and assumptions of Behaviourism (https://safetyrisk.net/the-curse-of-behaviourism/ ). The iCam method invokes the linear rationalist/cognitvist methodology of James Reason, its neither neutral or objective.
Whatever template, checklist or design you have downloaded and are using carries in it the bias of the designer and the subjectivity of its design. So, let’s get rid of this silly myth that Safety is objective.
Of course, any method and design carries an ethic, an inbuilt trajectory that carries a methodology (philosophy) about the nature of persons. If one has a product designed by Zero, then infallibility will be the expectation of the method. If one has a method based on fallibility, subjectivity and relationships, then perfection will not be expected and people will not be brutalized in the process. In method developed by Zero will brutalise persons.
This is why in SPoR we have developed the iCue Engagement Process (https://safetyrisk.net/conversational-icue/ ). The iCue Engagement process assumes the fallible vulnerable nature of persons and therefore in its design offers an open process that is biased towards: listening, conversation, care, helping, facilitation, dialogue, trust, reflection and relational engagement. The notion of iCue (https://safetyrisk.net/what-is-your-risk-icue/ ) symbolizes the idea of listening intelligently for cues in risk. In iCue listening the facilitator (https://safetyrisk.net/concept-mapping-risk-icue/ ) offers the worker opportunity to think through their method (https://safetyrisk.net/icue-diagnostic-what-is-your-risk-icue/ ). The reflective process uses concept mapping to help those in discussion to visualise a semiotic of risk (https://safetyrisk.net/visualising-risk/ ). Whenever we teach SPoR we start with this method.
Whatever methods you use to administering risk and safety ought to consider design, bias, ethics and methodology. If you have not considered this then you are simply enacting someone else’s ethic unconsciously not strategically.
One of the by-products of downloading templates in safety is that it teaches safety people NOT to trust themselves and indoctrinates safety people to accept the bias of the designer of the template as ‘orthodox’. Such is pure mythology. The Bow-Tie for example is simply an engineering symbol for calculating the movement of objects. There is nothing in the Bow-Tie that considers the nature of human judgment, persons and or the ethics of decision making. The risk matrix is a coloured symbol that indoctrinates people into thinking that risk can be measured. The Bow-Tie and risk matrix are symbols for an undisclosed methodology but are constructed as orthodox, they are not a representation of reality. When we make such symbols ‘orthodox’ we move in a trajectory that tends to objectify persons and relegates them to a ‘factor’ in a system.
So, some simple questions:
- What are some of your methods in safety?
- What does that method assume about persons?
- Does that method enable relational engagement between persons?
- What does that method design believe about persons?
- What is the ethic of your method?
- Have you investigated the methodology of the designer of that method?
- Where did the method come from?
- What is its purpose?