The Terms of Interaction and Concurrent Learning in the Definition of Integrated Operations

The Terms of Interaction and Concurrent Learning in the Definition of Integrated Operations

Trygve J. Steiro (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Institute for Production and Quality Engineering, Norway & SINTEF Technology and Society, Norway) and Glenn- Egil Torgersen (Norwegian Defence University College, Norway & Institute for Energy Technology, Norway)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2002-5.ch019
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This chapter introduces a new definition of Integrated Operations (IO) adapted to the oil industry. This definition focuses on interaction. Such an approach is necessary to emphasize learning processes in the organization’s various echelons. It is an important assumption for the success of IO as a flexible and complex organization. The term “Interaction” is elaborated with special emphasis on “Concurrent Learning.” Such an approach ensure reflection during the process leading up - the way forward - to the target and the development of a more fundamental organizational philosophy rather than just focusing on the result. It will create a more robust “integration” between technology, people, and organizations so that a higher capability in integrated operations can be achieved.
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Over the past decades, various disciplines, such as quality management, performance measurement, process management, IT processes and a variety of tools focused on improving business processes. The angle normally has been that the processes are repetitive activities that give best performance by standardizing and streamlining. The result is a range of methods and tools geared towards this. Process models, performance indicators, quality assurance, IT support, all aim to describe and support these processes. The “predictable” and repetitive processes do this well, huge efficiency gains are achieved in mass production processes and standardized procedures.

This approach, however, also has its limitations. In many sectors, all or part of the processes are less standardized and rather more dynamic, such as customer custom products that require slightly different manufacturing processes, course of treatment in the health sector where the process will vary depending on the blood samples and other information collected along the way, customer service depends heavily on customer needs that are discovered en route. For such processes requires a different approach, which allows such dynamic processes to be led through continuous improvisation, on-line problem solving and interaction with actors and processes. This will typically be a fast growing environment where the tasks are not standardized. In such condition, flexible forms of organization are recommended. This was pinpointed by Burns and Stalker (1961).

The petroleum industry is undergoing a transition made possible by new and powerful information technology. Traditional work processes and organizational structures are challenged by more efficient and integrated approaches to offshore operations. The new approaches are taken into use to overcome traditional obstacles – whether they are geographical, organizational or professional – to efficient decision making (Ringstad & Andersen, 2006). This way of working together is in the petroleum industry referred to as Integrated Operations (IO). This is an example of a decentralized and organic organization (see Table 1).

Table 1.
Organizational form due to four field matrix, simple or complex tasks and stable or dynamic environment based on Mintzbergs (1983) taxonomy
Complex organizational architectureDecentralized bureaucracy
Professional bureaucracy
Simple organizational architectureCentralized bureaucracy
Machine bureaucracy
Simple structure

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