ELSE project presentation

Leadership for safety capability has become a key professional requirement for managers with safety responsibilities in industrial sectors characterized by inherent organisational complexity and high levels of regulation, such as the nuclear sector. This MOOC was developed in the frame of the EU funded ELSE Project (European Leadership for Safety Education) to offer you an insight, informed by the most recent findings in social and management sciences, into the key concepts and main challenges of leadership for safety.

It consists of four complementary e-learning units, elaborated by an international team of academics and nuclear sector experts, each requiring approximately 2,5 screen-days of attendance.


Unit 1. Management and leadership for safety in practice: key concepts Part 1

This first unit puts in perspective the key interconnected concepts related to safety management and leadership for safety. Unit 1 develops the following themes:

  1. Managing Safety: an evolving problematic
  2. Different types of risk: a technical approach
  3. Organizational structure and design
  4. Safety culture


Unit 2. Management and leadership for safety in practice: key concepts Part 2

This second unit puts in perspective the key interconnected concepts related to safety management and leadership for safety. Unit 2 develops the following themes:

  1. Leadership
  2. Knowledge and learning
  3. Safety standards

Unit 3. Management and leadership for safety in practice: key challenges Part 1

This third unit explores three main challenges, which are critical for managers to identify, understand and address to achieve a successful practice of leadership for safety in the workplace:

  • The challenge of managing tensions and paradoxes stemming from competing legitimate goals (e.g., production versus safety), or from differences in the perception of risks.
  • The challenge of effectively dealing with uncertainty in a work environment characterised by high levels of reliability and resilience.
  • The challenge of managing safety requirements close to organizational limits.

Unit 3 develops the following themes:

  1. Management of paradoxes
  2. Risk Perception
  3. Reliability: the importance of resilience


Unit 4. Management and leadership for safety in practice: key challenges Part 2

This fourth unit explores three main challenges, which are critical for managers to identify, understand and address to achieve a successful practice of leadership for safety in the workplace:

Unit 4 develops the following themes:

  1. Collective cognition
  2. Individual factors of dealing with uncertainty
  3. Organizational limits and the paradox of almost totally safe systems
  4. Leadership to enhance safety in day-to-day practices

These four units present the fundamentals of leadership for safety concepts and associated issues. To acquire an in-depth understanding of these issues and develop practical skills in leadership for safety, you are invited to apply to attend the ELSE training programme, which complements this MOOC with a 10-day face-to-face session at the Université Côte d’Azur (Nice, France) and a 6-month long individual tutored project. Run by the same international pedagogical team that designed the MOOC, this training is based on case studies, discussions and hands-on exercise sessions in small groups, facilitating discussions and participation. Upon a successful completion of all the ELSE training requirements, participants will be awarded the “Leadership for Safety” Master 2-level University Côte d’Azur diploma. For more information: https://univ-cotedazur.eu/european-leadership-for-safety-education


Authors' presentation

The ELSE MOOC was developed by a multidisciplinary team of leading university and industry experts from many different countries, who have been brought together by the European Leadership for safety Education (ELSE) Project.


Jacques Repussard. After leading the French Institute for nuclear safety and radiation protection (IRSN) for 13 years as Director General, Jacques Repussard contributes since 2016, as an independent consultant, to several European and international projects, including the European Leadership for Safety Education project (ELSE), providing his managerial expertise in the field of risk prevention and mitigation. In his earlier career, J Repussard was DDG of the French Institute for Environmental and Industrial risks (INERIS) (1997-2003), and before that Secretary General of the European Standards Organisation (CEN) (1997-2003) with headquarters in Brussels (Belgium). He was elected in June 2022 President of the French Institut de Maîtrise des Risques (IMDR).




Catherine Thomas is Professor in Management at the Université Côte d’Azur (France) and a member of the GREDEG (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion, UMR 7321, CNRS) research center. Her current research interests include strategic organizing, leadership for safety, organizational attention, organizational learning, and knowledge management. Since 2019, she is the Project Leader of the European Leadership for Safety Education (ELSE) project, funded by the European Union, aiming to develop a new research-based approach for education in the domain of safety leadership. The results of her research are published in leading international journals in the field of innovation management, knowledge management and organization sciences. Examples include British Journal of Management, Journal of Knowledge Management, Management International, Regional Studies, Industrial Marketing Management, and International Journal of Project Management.



Renata Kaminska is Professor of Strategy and Innovation at SKEMA Business School. She is a member of SKEMA Knowledge Technology and Organization (KTO) and University Côte d’Azur GREDEG (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion, UMR 7321, CNRS) research centers. She is Scientific Director of UCA/SKEMA Master 2/MSc Research in Management and Innovation. She is also Key Expert of the European Leadership for Safety Education (ELSE) project, funded by the European Union, aiming to develop an innovative research-based approach to education in the domain of safety leadership. Her current research revolves around innovation, leadership for safety and organizational dynamics. She published in many international journals such as Advances in Strategic Management, Knowledge Management Research and Practice, European Management Journal, Management International, Journal of Business Strategy and Research Policy.



Natalia Jubault Krasnopevtseva is PhD candidate at the Université Côte d’Azur/ SKEMA Business School (France) in management.  Her PhD thesis explores issues of leadership for safety in complex environments, in particular in the context of the nuclear industry. Since 2020, she is Research and Training assistant of the European Leadership for Safety Education (ELSE) project, funded by the European Union, aiming to develop a new research-based approach for education in the domain of safety leadership. Her research interests include leadership, organizing in high-risk environments, resilience, mindfulness, organizational attention, and qualitative methodology.




Dr Colin Pilbeam is Professor of Organizational Safety in the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre at Cranfield University, UK. His undergraduate qualification was obtained from Oxford University, and he holds doctorates in both natural and social sciences. His research interests embrace many aspects of organizational safety, including safety leadership, safety culture and safety learning, and deal with practical organizational problems. This work has been funded by Lloyds Register Foundation and Institution of Occupational Safety and Health and by commercial organizations.




Yoann Guntzburger is Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies at SKEMA Business School. He holds a Ph.D. degree in management from HEC Montreal, an M.A.Sc. as well as a bachelor degree in process engineering from Polytechnique Montreal. Yoann is specialized in ethics in operational risk management and organizational crisis management. His current topics of interest focus on leadership for safety, science-policy interfaces related to sustainable development, and AI for ethical decision-making. His recent publications can be found in Science and Engineering Ethics, Safety Science and Food Control. He teaches at SKEMA introductory and advanced courses in digital transformation and sustainability, ethics in digital business and life cycle management. Yoann is also the director of SKEMA Transitions, the institutional global platform for sustainability and responsible management.


Jean-Louis Ermine began his career as a teacher-researcher at the Universities of Algiers and Bordeaux. He has worked at the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) as a Knowledge Manager for more than 10 years. From 2003 to 2015, he was a professor at Institut Mines-Telecom. He is currently Professor Emeritus at Institut Mines-Telecom and international expert consultant in Business Knowledge Management. He has written 9 books and more than 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. He is creator of the French Knowledge Management Club and the French Academic Association for Knowledge Management. He has been a project manager or advisor in numerous research or industrial Knowledge Management projects in public or private companies and international organizations. He was French delegate for ISO International Standards Commission on Knowledge Management. He is the creator of the MASK Knowledge Management method, which is now widely used in various companies and organizations around the world.




Didier Louvat, from 2011 to 2021, was the Managing Director of the European Nuclear Safety Training and Tutoring Institute, ENSTTI, an educational initiative supported by the European Technical Safety Organizations. From 2003 to 2010, He led the IAEA Programme on Radioactive Waste Management as Head of the Waste and Environmental Safety Section in the IAEA Department of Nuclear Safety and Security. Previous to that he headed the radioecological studies laboratory of the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety, IRSN. Before he holds several positions at the Department of Nuclear Fuel Cycle of the French Atomic Energy Commission, CEA, where he developed programmes related to disposal of radioactive waste and environmental impact assessment. Didier LOUVAT graduated in Geology at Paris University and completed his PhD in Isotope Geochemistry at the same University in 1987.


Evelyne Rouby is Associate Professor in Management at the University Côte d’Azur (UCA) and a member of the GREDEG (Groupe de Recherche en Droit, Economie et Gestion, UMR 7321, CNRS) research center. She is Director of the Master in Organizational Audit at the Economics and Management Graduate School and Research of UCA. Her current research revolves around organizational dynamics in complex and risky environments and investigates topics such as organizational attention, mindfulness, resilience, and routine dynamics. The results of her research are published in ranked journals in the fields of Organization Sciences and Human Resources Management such as M@n@gement, Management International, Système d’Information et Management, and @GRH.



Benoît Journé is Professor of Management and Organization Studies at Nantes University, IAE, France. He is also associate professor at IMT-Atlantique (Nantes, France).  He is currently a member of LEMNA research lab. He is head of Chaire RESOH (2012-2022) and was scientific co-director of AGORAS research project (2014-2020).

He is specialized in the management of Human and Organizational Factors of nuclear safety, with a focus on organizational reliability and resilience. He carried out multiple research projects with the French regulator (ASN), with its Technical Support Organization (IRSN) and with some leading nuclear operators (EDF, Orano, Andra, Naval Group).



Ravi S. Kudesia is an assistant professor of management at the Fox School of Business at Temple University. He received his PhD from the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis. He researches how people can organize with mindfulness—focusing on cognitive processes in collectives that must solve problems and make sense of complex environments. His research often concerns safety and reliability in high-risk contexts such as protest crowds, medical and military teams, and explosive-demolitions companies. Taking a multimethod and interdisciplinary approach, Ravi has conducted research using experiments, qualitative methods, and computer simulations. His research has won several awards through the Academy of Management and Strategic Management Society and has appeared in leading journals including Academy of Management Review, IEEE Transactions on Computational Social Systems, Journal of Management, Organization Science, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, and Safety Science. Ravi holds editorial positions in journals like Academy of Management Review and Mindfulness and regularly teaches executives about how to enhance collective cognitive processes in organizations.


Dr Rhona Flin is Professor of Industrial Psychology, Aberdeen Business School, Robert Gordon University and Emeritus Professor of Applied Psychology, University of Aberdeen. She is an elected Fellow of the British Psychological Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has been awarded Fellowships by the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and the Royal Aeronautical Society. Her research examines human performance in high risk work settings (e.g. healthcare; energy sector) focusing on leadership, safety culture, team skills and cognitive skills. Current projects include psychological factors in the introduction of new technology, mindfulness  training for safety, and non-technical skills in safety-critical tasks.



Dr Kristina Potočnik is a Senior Lecturer in Human Resource Management, and Head of Organisation Studies Group at the University of Edinburgh Business School. She is a Chartered Psychologist and an academic member of Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. She earned her MA degree in Psychology from the University of Ljubljana and a PhD in Work and Organizational Psychology from the University of Valencia. Kristina’s research is concerned with understanding how teams operate under uncertain, stressful, and time-pressured conditions, and the paradoxical effects that operating under such conditions might have on teams and individuals who work in them. She has published on this and other topics in different journals, including Organization Science, Journal of Management, and British Journal of Management.




Last modified: Thursday, 1 December 2022, 8:26 AM