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Failures of equipment used in deepwater oil and gas production are potentially hazardous, difficult and costly to rectify, and damaging to the environment; a high degree of reliability over many years of continuous operation is therefore an essential requirement of subsea systems. Although technical issues have been widely investigated, less is known about the organizational factors that promote high reliability in the design, manufacture, and installation of these systems. This review draws on studies of high-reliability manufacturing and process industries to examine the roles of intraorganizational factors (particularly organizational culture) that may promote or detract from the achievement of high reliability in subsea systems. External factors, such as supply chain coordination, are also considered. Studies of organizational change designed to enhance the reliability of design and manufacturing processes are rare in the subsea industry, but relevant issues arising from change initiatives in other organizational settings are discussed. Finally, several areas are identified in which systematic industry-based research could contribute to identifying critical elements in the development and operation of subsea systems and, hence, reduce the risk of failures. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc., A Wiley Company.

Original publication




Journal article


Human Factors and Ergonomics In Manufacturing

Publication Date





487 - 505