Systèmes d'Information et Management


The purpose of this article is to point out the roles played by the electronic information system, the individual vigilance and the knowledge and know-how shared within a community of practices in the accomplishment of a reliable collective performance in a totally mediated (operators take decisions without being able to discuss with one another) but not predictible situation (adaptation to customers). With the theoretical backgound of highly reliable organizations, we investigate the operations concerning the repatriation-assistance which deal with situations admitting no failure and request highly satisfaction rate from the customer. The description and detailed analysis of an internal coordination process between the different employees involved in a same assistance operation leads us: firstly, to identify different roles played by the processed data system within its organizational context. All of these different roles enable to secure a highly efficient and reliable coordination between individuals who work sequentially on the same assistance-operation. These roles also induce a high vigilance level of each operator; secondly, to show that the existence of a community of practices essentially complements the standardized modus operandi, thus harmonizing individual practices which is fundamental to the consistency and continuity of an iterative and distributive repatriation-assistance process. This article finally shows the contribution of the theory of communities of practice to the issue of performance in a context of complex adaptation to customer needs.