Cultural features of design and shared learning for safety: A Nordic nuclear industry perspective
Journal article, 2016

Safe and functional nuclear industry design is a topic of growing interest due to new builds and modernization projects in the operating nuclear power plants. Provided that good design of components and systems is critical for safe operation of the plants, understanding what influences the process of learning for safety in design activities is of utmost importance. The existing literature emphasizes tensions of design activity but pays insufficient attention to the culture of design and its relation to safety and learning. This paper aims at identifying cultural features of design organizations, such as shared conceptions, assumptions, norms, beliefs, and exploring their influence on the process of shared learning for safety. Case studies were carried out in Finland and Sweden to generate insights on cultural characteristics of design in the nuclear domain. The paper indicates the importance of requirements as a media for sharing knowledge and learning in nuclear industry design projects. As the networked aspects of the design work are gradually acknowledged, the need to learn how to systematically manage the requirements and understand the big picture of the overall design project are highlighted.

Nuclear industry

Safety culture


Shared learning

Cultural features


Nadezhda Gotchevaa

Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

Pia Oedewald

Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

Mikael Wahlström

Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT)

Luigi Macchi

Anna-Lisa Osvalder

Chalmers, Product and Production Development, Design and Human Factors

Håkan Alm

Luleå University of Technology

Safety Science

0925-7535 (ISSN) 18791042 (eISSN)

Vol. 81 90-98

Subject Categories

Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics

Areas of Advance





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