Two terms that frequently crop up in contemporary approaches to safety and to work management in general in air traffic control are Work-as-Imagined (WAI) and Work-as-Done (WAD).
WAI refers to the various assumptions, explicit or implicit, that people have about how work should be done. WAD refers to descriptions of how something is actually done, either in a specific case or routinely.
There is a difference between the two and this can cause problems.
The solution to bridging the gap lies in understanding what determines how work is done and then finding effective ways of managing it, keeping WAD’s variability within acceptable limits.
Read the HindSight article to learn more about the WAI-WAD dichotomy.