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Organization at the Limit. Lessons from the Columbia Disaster

  • ID: 2216282
  • Book
  • July 2005
  • 384 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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Tragedies like the
Columbia disaster are distressing reminders that things can go wrong in large, highly regarded organizations. Although we embrace new technologies eagerly, we are reluctant to accept the risks of innovation. Moreover, some technologies and organizations may be too complex to control effectively. What makes some organizations more prone to accidents? Do the very measures taken to increase safety contribute to accidents? Can societies, organizations, and individuals learn from failures and reduce risks?

Against this backdrop, Professors William H. Starbuck of New York University and Moshe Farjoun of York University have invited diverse experts to contribute insights about the Columbia accident and the organizational lessons it suggests. This book thus presents many viewpoints on the complex behavioral factors that led to disaster.

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Notes on contributors.

Foreword: Sean O′Keefe.

Part I: Introduction.

1 Introduction: Organizational Aspects of the Columbia Disaster: Moshe Farjoun and William H. Starbuck (New York University).

Part II: The Context of the Disaster.

2 History and Policy in the Space Shuttle Program: Moshe Farjoun (New York University).

3 System Effects: On Slippery Slopes, Repeating Negative Patterns, and Learning from Mistake? Diane Vaughan (Boston College).

4 Organizational Learning and Action in the Midst of Safety Drift: Revisiting the Space Shuttle Program s Recent History: Moshe Farjoun (New York University).

5 The Space Between in Space Transportation: A Relational Analysis of the Failure of STS–107: Karlene H. Roberts, Peter M. Madsen, Vinit M. Desai (University of California Berkley).

Part III: Influences on decision making.

6 The Opacity of Risk: Language and the Culture of Safety in NASA s Space Shuttle Program: Willie Ocasio (Northwestern University).

7 Coping with Temporal Uncertainty: When Rigid, Ambitious Deadlines Don t Make Sense: Sally Blount (New York University), Mary Waller (Tulane University), and Sophie Leroy (New York University).

8 Attention to Production Schedule and Safety as Determinants of Risk–Taking in NASA s Decision to Launch the Columbia Shuttle: Angela Buljan (University of Zagreb) and Zur Shapira (New York University).

Part IV: The Imaging Debate.

9 Making Sense of Blurred Images: Mindful Organizing in Mission STS–107: Karl Weick (University of Michigan).

10 The Price of Progress: Structurally Induced Inaction: Scott A. Snook and Jeffrey C. Connor (Harvard University).

11 Data Indeterminacy: One NASA, Two Modes: Raghu Garud and Roger Dunbar (New York University).

12 The Recovery Window: Organizational Learning Following Ambiguous Threats: Amy C. Edmondson, Michael A. Roberto, Richard M.J. Bohmer, Erika M. Ferlins, Laura R. Feldman (Harvard University).

13 Barriers to the Interpretation and Diffusion of Information about Potential Problems in Organizations: Lessons from the Space Shuttle Columbia: Frances Milliken, Theresa K. Lant, and Ebony Bridwell–Mitchell (New York University).

Part V: Beyond Explanation.

14 Systems Approaches to Safety: NASA and the Space Shuttle Disasters: Nancy Leveson, Joel Cutcher–Gershenfeld, John S. Carroll, Betty Barrett, Alexander Brown, Nicolas Dulac, Lydia Fraile, and Karen Marais (MIT).

15 Creating Foresight: Lessons for Enhancing Resilience from Columbia: David Woods (Ohio State).

16 Making NASA More Effective: William H. Starbuck (New York University) and Johnny Stevenson (NASA).

17 Observations on the Columbia Accident: Henry McDonald (University of Tennessee).

Part VI: Conclusion.

18 Conclusion: Moshe Farjoun and William H. Starbuck (New York University).


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William Starbuck
Moshe Farjoun
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