The Challenger Launch Decision

Author: Diane Vaughan
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022634696X
Format: PDF, ePub
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When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded through the eyes of the managers and the engineers, Vaughan uncovers an incremental descent into poor judgment, supported by a culture of high-risk technology. She reveals how and why NASA insiders, when repeatedly faced with evidence that something was wrong, normalized the deviance so that it became acceptable to them. In a new preface, Vaughan reveals the ramifications for this book and for her when a similar decision-making process brought down NASA's Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003.

Controlling Unlawful Organizational Behavior

Author: Diane Vaughan
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226851747
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Diane Vaughan reconstructs the Ohio Revco case, an example of Medicaid provider fraud in which a large drugstore chain initiated a computer-generated double billing scheme that cost the state and federal government half a million dollars in Medicaid funds, funds that the company believed were rightfully theirs. Her analysis of this incident—why the crime was committed, how it was detected, and how the case was built—provides a fascinating inside look at computer crime. Vaughan concludes that organizational misconduct could be decreased by less regulation and more sensitive bureaucratic response.

Friendly Fire

Author: Scott A. Snook
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 140084097X
Format: PDF, ePub
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On April 14, 1994, two U.S. Air Force F-15 fighters accidentally shot down two U.S. Army Black Hawk Helicopters over Northern Iraq, killing all twenty-six peacekeepers onboard. In response to this disaster the complete array of military and civilian investigative and judicial procedures ran their course. After almost two years of investigation with virtually unlimited resources, no culprit emerged, no bad guy showed himself, no smoking gun was found. This book attempts to make sense of this tragedy--a tragedy that on its surface makes no sense at all. With almost twenty years in uniform and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior, Lieutenant Colonel Snook writes from a unique perspective. A victim of friendly fire himself, he develops individual, group, organizational, and cross-level accounts of the accident and applies a rigorous analysis based on behavioral science theory to account for critical links in the causal chain of events. By explaining separate pieces of the puzzle, and analyzing each at a different level, the author removes much of the mystery surrounding the shootdown. Based on a grounded theory analysis, Snook offers a dynamic, cross-level mechanism he calls "practical drift"--the slow, steady uncoupling of practice from written procedure--to complete his explanation. His conclusion is disturbing. This accident happened because, or perhaps in spite of everyone behaving just the way we would expect them to behave, just the way theory would predict. The shootdown was a normal accident in a highly reliable organization.

Inside NASA

Author: Howard E. McCurdy
Publisher: Johns Hopkins Univ Pr
ISBN:
Format: PDF, Kindle
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The National Aeronautics and Space Administration began its space flight program in October of 1958 by launching the 84-pound Pioneer I space probe. Scarcely a decade later, in July of 1969, NASA amazed the world by landing the first humans on the Moon. In the two decades that followed, however, the agency appeared to lose both its vigor and its creativity. Inside NASA explores how an agency praised for its planetary probes and expeditions to the Moon became noted for the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and a series of other malfunctions. Using archival evidence as well as in-depth interviews with space agency officials, Howard McCurdy investigates the relationship between the performance of the U.S. space program and NASA's organizational culture. He begins by identifying the beliefs, norms, and practices that guided NASA's early successes. Originally, the agency was dominated by the strong technical culture rooted in the research-and-development organizations from which NASA was formed. To launch the expeditions to the Moon, McCurdy explains, this technical culture was linked to an organizational structure borrowed from the Air Force Ballistic Missile Program. Over time, however, changes imposed to accomplish the lunar expedition - as well as the normal aging process and increased bureaucracy in the government as a whole-altered NASA's original culture and eroded its technical strength. McCurdy observes that NASA's early success depended on a number of related characteristics: extensive testing, in-house technical capability, hands-on experience, exceptional people, stoic acceptance of risk and failure, and a frontier mentality. He concludes that, given the conditions ofmodern government, the performance of high-technology agencies like NASA inherently tends to decline. Inside NASA offers a revealing study of both organizational culture and bureaucratic aging.

Reinventing Evidence in Social Inquiry

Author: R. Biernacki
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 1137007281
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Revisiting the dominant scientific method, 'coding,' with which investigators from sociology to literary criticism have sampled texts and catalogued their cultural messages, the author demonstrates that the celebrated hard outputs rest on misleading samples and on unfeasible classifying of the texts' meanings.

Path of Destruction

Author: John McQuaid
Publisher: Little, Brown
ISBN: 0316076597
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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At 5:02 A.M. on August 29, 2005, Power Went Out in the Superdome. Not long after, wind ripped giant white rubber sheets off the roof and sent huge shards of debris flying toward Uptown. Rivulets of rainwater began finding their way down through the ceiling, dripping and pouring into the stands, the mezzanine, and the football field. Without ventilation, the air began to get gamy with the smell of sweat and garbage. The bathrooms stopped working. Many people slept; others waited, mostly in silence.

Offshore Process Safety

Author:
Publisher: Academic Press
ISBN: 0128140283
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Methods in Chemical Process Safety, Volume Two, the latest release in a serial that publishes fully commissioned methods papers across the field of process safety, risk assessment, and management and loss prevention, aims to provide informative, visual and current content that appeals to both researchers and practitioners in process safety. This new release contains unique chapters on offshore safety, offshore platform safety, human factors in offshore operation, marine safety, safety during well drilling and operation, safety during processing (top side), safety during transportation of natural resources (offshore pipeline), and regulatory context Helps acquaint the reader/researcher with the fundamentals of process safety Provides the most recent advancements and contributions on the topic from a practical point-of-view Presents users with the views/opinions of experts in each topic Includes a selection of the author(s) of each chapter from among the leading researchers and/or practitioners for each given topic

Engineering a Safer World

Author: Nancy G. Leveson
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262297302
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Engineering has experienced a technological revolution, but the basic engineering techniques applied in safety and reliability engineering, created in a simpler, analog world, have changed very little over the years. In this groundbreaking book, Nancy Leveson proposes a new approach to safety -- more suited to today's complex, sociotechnical, software-intensive world -- based on modern systems thinking and systems theory. Revisiting and updating ideas pioneered by 1950s aerospace engineers in their System Safety concept, and testing her new model extensively on real-world examples, Leveson has created a new approach to safety that is more effective, less expensive, and easier to use than current techniques.Arguing that traditional models of causality are inadequate, Leveson presents a new, extended model of causation (Systems-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes, or STAMP), then then shows how the new model can be used to create techniques for system safety engineering, including accident analysis, hazard analysis, system design, safety in operations, and management of safety-critical systems. She applies the new techniques to real-world events including the friendly-fire loss of a U.S. Blackhawk helicopter in the first Gulf War; the Vioxx recall; the U.S. Navy SUBSAFE program; and the bacterial contamination of a public water supply in a Canadian town. Leveson's approach is relevant even beyond safety engineering, offering techniques for "reengineering" any large sociotechnical system to improve safety and manage risk.

Seeing Like a Rover

Author: Janet Vertesi
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022615601X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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In the years since the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and Opportunity first began transmitting images from the surface of Mars, we have become familiar with the harsh, rocky, rusty-red Martian landscape. But those images are much less straightforward than they may seem to a layperson: each one is the result of a complicated set of decisions and processes involving the large team behind the Rovers. With Seeing Like a Rover, Janet Vertesi takes us behind the scenes to reveal the work that goes into creating our knowledge of Mars. Every photograph that the Rovers take, she shows, must be processed, manipulated, and interpreted—and all that comes after team members negotiate with each other about what they should even be taking photographs of in the first place. Vertesi’s account of the inspiringly successful Rover project reveals science in action, a world where digital processing uncovers scientific truths, where images are used to craft consensus, and where team members develop an uncanny intimacy with the sensory apparatus of a robot that is millions of miles away. Ultimately, Vertesi shows, every image taken by the Mars Rovers is not merely a picture of Mars—it’s a portrait of the whole Rover team, as well.