Website’s Purposes

This website is intended to explore further the human vulnerabilities in high-tech, safety critical decision making, including but not limited to four vulnerabilities that emerged from the research reported in Disastrous High-Tech Decision Making: From Disasters to Safety:

1) the time-pressured situation of diagnosing the validity of danger signals precipitated by a sudden warning of dangerous, possibly disastrous technical failure;

2) the managerial lag behind engineers in technical knowledge, coupled with managerial authority to decide the nature, severity, and even validity of danger expressed in engineers’ warnings of threatening operating conditions;

3) managers’ and engineers’ vulnerability in settling their conflicting views of danger when they employ a means of settling the issue of danger, evidence-based argument, with no grasp of its hidden pitfalls (e.g., framing of case, presumption, burden of proof); and

4) the pervasive but hidden influence of the organization’s production culture, shaping how issues of safety, danger, production, and schedule are defined and handled through the organization’s practices, norms, and discourse.

Through CONTACT, above, I welcome emails with comments on, examples of, and publication references to the problems and dynamics referred to in these 4 areas of decision-making vulnerability – and of course I welcome any comment on the book itself.