Governing safe operations at a distance
This chapter argues that today’s organisational risk management, whereemployees are to adopt routines for proper self-control, is fruitfully approachedas what Rose and Miller (1992) term governing-at-a-distance. Governing thatrelies on internal control and the self-governing capacity of citizens requirespeople to be involved in communication that signifies responsible behaviour.If there is hierarchical monitoring, then it is communication that is supervisedwhich makes the signifying practices all the more important. While previousresearch has demonstrated that an increasing burden of responsibility is placedon citizens for the risks and health problems they face or envisage, less attentionhas been paid to the increased communication requirements this developmentinvolves. Bridging this gap, this chapter investigates how social interaction inmeetings works to facilitate employees to become responsible risk communicationsubjects. An intensive discourse analysis of five safety meeting episodesdemonstrates how the responsibilisation of employees’ risk communicationextends questions of (a) form – such as the duration of talk, (b) paper work,(c) genuineness, (d) contributing on-topic, (e) economisation, and (f) reliabilityregardless of illness and place. The study takes inspiration from positioninganalysis (e.g. Bamberg 2005), allowing for a detailed account of the moment-tomomentprocess of responsibilisation, something that previous research on riskmanagement tends to skim over.