The aim of this research was to understand the relationship between maintenance staff perceptions of organisational effectiveness and operational reliability in petroleum operations. Engineering measures exist that assess the effectiveness of maintenance and reliability of equipment. These measures are typically retrospective and may not provide insight into what impedes system reliability. Perceptions of organisational effectiveness by the workforce may provide a predictive measure that could improve our understanding of the human factors that influence system reliability. Maintenance personnel (n=133) from nine petroleum production facilities completed a survey as part of a study of human factors and maintenance reliability. 69 respondents (51.9%) provided comments to an open-ended question in the survey, and these data were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis to extract themes. Four super-ordinate themes were identified from the analysis: 1) Communication and access to information, 2) Efficiency of current work systems, 3) Need for better workgroup support, and 4) Management impacts on the workplace. We found a significant relationship between the frequency of the four super-ordinate themes and the facility reliability level as measured by 'Mean Time Between Failures': χ2(6,N=158)=16.2, p=.013. These results demonstrated that operational effectiveness might be differentiated on the basis of survey-derived perceptions of maintenance personnel. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.