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Drift into Failure Paperback – 1 Feb 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 234 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate (1 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1409422216
  • ISBN-13: 978-1409422211
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 1.5 x 23.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 213,153 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

About the Author

Sidney Dekker is Professor of Human Factors and System Safety at Lund University, Sweden and Director of Research at the Leonardo Da Vinci Center for Complexity and Systems Thinking. He gained his Ph.D. in Cognitive Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University, USA and has worked in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, and England. Sidney has been a Senior Fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and Visiting Academic in the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University in Melbourne. He is scientific advisor on healthcare system safety to the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Professor of Community Health Science at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, in Canada. Sidney's research interests include system safety, human error, reactions to failure, and organizational resilience. His recent books include "Ten Questions About Human Error: A New View of Human Factors and System Safety" (2005), "The Field Guide to Understanding Human Error" (2006), and "Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability" (2007). Sidney also flies the Boeing 737NG part time as airline pilot. He is a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. The OSU Foundation in the United States awards a yearly Sidney Dekker Critical Thinking Award.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Peter Davies TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 31 July 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book. It is a quiet, rather dry, but effectively devastating academic study of how things drift into failure. In fact right now, there's probably something in your life or work that's actively drifting towards failure!

The book is a very good description of how temporary success and achievement are, and how hard they are to sustain. A bit like Gibbon's narrative of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire the question is either how early where the flaws obvious? Or the reciprocal- With all its flaws how this this system manage to stagger on for so long?

Dekker writes well as an academic. There are detailed examples and references- reflecting his knowledge and experience.

He's superb in his discussions of our notions of controllability and responsibility. He's not sure these ideas really exist, or can be exercised well in complex adaptive systems. He's less convinced anything is "accidental" or that the word can be well defined- every event has its antecedents.

He's quite sceptical of linear descriptions of accidents or system failures. Sometimes they are right- and the causal chain can be mapped out across part of its trajectory. But he's very sceptical these explain the whole story.

He defines the book well in his introduction which is worth quoting,
"Drifting into failure is a gradual, incremental decline into disaster driven by environmental pressure, unruly technology and social processes that normalise growing risk. No organisation is exempt from drifting into failure.....Failure does not come from the occasional, abnormal dysfunction or breakdown of these structures, processes and tasks, but is an inevitable by product of their normal functioning.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Wise Man Listens on 18 Dec 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a "must read" for not only academics, managers and safety professionals but also the general public. Dekker presents persuasive evidence and arguments that existing 'working to a formula everything is predictable' approaches to managing life and the complex organisations within it simply do not work. He makes complex systems thinking easy to understand. Far from being doom and gloom Dekker describes credible ways in which complexity may be managed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. J. M. Anderson on 7 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
There are two writers whom I will always read what they have recently written. The first is James Reason formerly of Manchester University and his two books "Human Error" (1990) and "Managing the risks of organisational accidents" (1997). The second writer is Sidney Dekker originally from Lund University in Sweden. His "Field guide to understanding human error" (2006) was utterly eye-opening to me, and he refers to Reason at the bottom of page 88. I have agreed to review Sidney Dekker's new book "Drift into Failure" (2011) but what with the recent Christmas period I have not had the time to get round to it. I have to say that I found the previous book "Just culture - balancing safety and accountability" (2007) a bit disappointing and a bit 'off-target' for me. They have PhDs and so have I, and they both use the same publisher Ashgate Publishing in Farnham, Surrey. My core business is in the construction industry health and safety hazards and risks, and I can assure anyone reading this review that it does not matter what business you are in - if it is to do with risks/hazards, both authors have something relevant to say no matter what sort of industry you are talking about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Matheson on 27 Dec 2013
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Full of insights as to how our own culture influences our perceptions of events past and future. A slow careful read is needed.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful By martin shaw on 6 May 2011
Format: Paperback
A good subject but a hard read. Like other books from this author (e.g. Just Culture) they cover important subjects but don't flow as well as Holnagel, Reason etc. They seem to be written for the academic rather than the practitioner. The content and ideas are fist class. I recognise the 'drift into failure' and the components of drift from endless debates about cost versus safety and quality. Gave me a taste for complexity which found an outlet in more purchases from Amazon ( cunning marketing)!! Look forward to the next book which produces a 'methodology'!!
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