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High Reliability Collaborations: Theorizing Interorganizational Reliability as Constituted through Translation
Management Communication Quarterly  (IF2.34),  Pub Date : 2021-03-26, DOI: 10.1177/08933189211006390
Rebecca M. Rice

High reliability organizations (HROs) need to collaborate to address risks that transcend organizational boundaries. HRO literature has yet to examine the challenge of creating interorganizational reliability, while collaboration literature can further explore how stakeholder priorities become dominant in collaborations. This study joins these bodies of literature to identify the growing domain of High Reliability Collaborations (HRCs). Drawing from 2 years of ethnographic research within a community emergency collaboration, the study theorizes that communicative translations constitute HRCs and serve to make sense of HROs and non-HROs as belonging to a shared collaborative framework. These translations are necessary to create reliability but also establish a negotiated order among collaborative stakeholders. This study finds that containing and controlling stakeholders can be an incentive to collaborate and that collaborative decision-making is influenced by stakeholder claims to urgency.