More on “Just Culture”

What is “Just Culture?” It is an organizational culture in which front-line operators are not punished for actions, omissions or decisions taken by them which are commensurate with their experience and training, but where gross negligence, wilful violations and destructive acts are not tolerated.”

Here’s another example of incorporating Just Culture principles into a healthcare system.

Guiding Behaviors

(With slight adaptations for policing)

  1. We support one another in serving our citizens and communities.

We are all imperfect human beings who make mistakes. When we commit a human error, we may console our fellow employees. When we drift from safe to unsafe behavior, we may coach each other on how to make safer choices.

  1. We communicate openly, honestly, respectfully, and directly.

You will be in a place where you are respected and heard, and the team will have greater success in learning about the near misses or good catches.

  1. We are fully present.

We need to ensure we take the opportunity to clearly hear and see risks around us every day. We need to speak up in helping citizens and our teams see the risks that can cause undesired outcomes.

  1. We are all accountable.

It is a culture where we hold all leaders and employees accountable for their behaviors and the quality of their choices. We are all accountable to create the kind of workplace where people can count on one another.

  1. We trust and assume goodness in intentions.

As we trust our leaders and one another and assume goodness in intentions, we will allow for a true learning culture to develop.

  1. We are continuous learners.

We need to be open to continuously learn about how to manage the risks in our organizations. We can start by sharing the risks that we see in one another and our leaders. [Trinity Health University, Livonia, Michigan]


 Take a good look at this video and the links and think about how this concept, this level of thinking, could be applied to the problem of police uses of deadly force and tell me what you think.

I also recommend the following set of slides from Ochsner Health Systems explaining more about creating a Just Culture and, especially, the role of discipline and “psychological safety” when doing so. A good presentation.