Underlying concepts in robustness and resilience and their use in designing socio-technical systems Chapitre d’ouvrage - 2008

Bernard Pavard, Julie Dugdale, Nargès Bellamine-Ben Saoud, Sandrine Darcy, Pascal Salembier

Bernard Pavard, Julie Dugdale, Nargès Bellamine-Ben Saoud, Sandrine Darcy, Pascal Salembier, « Underlying concepts in robustness and resilience and their use in designing socio-technical systems  », in Hollnagel, E. and Nemeth, C. and Dekker, S. (eds.), Remaining Sensitive to the Possibility of Failure, 2008, pp. 1-18

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to make a conceptual distinction between the notions of robustness and resilience. Currently these terms are used in with many different meanings. This heterogeneity is increased by the fact that these terms are related to key concepts in many different fields (computer science, biology, economics, etc.) and are related to different conceptual meanings (stability, non-equilibrium dynamics, etc.). In this paper we argue that robustness and resilience, regardless of processes to which they are associated, belong to two types of regulation : functional and structural. Functional regulation refers to the classical engineering view of regulation as a process that tries to restore the initial functions of the system. Conversely, structural regulation refers to non-equilibrium dynamics (or autopoiesis, self-organisation, critical self-organisation, etc.) with the aim of finding a new equilibrium between the components of the system. Using examples from emergency and crisis management, we show how emergent and self-organised regulation can play a critical role in achieving robust socio-technical systems. The ultimate goal of this paper work is to propose a methodology for designing robust socio-complex systems based on this approach.

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