Advertisement

History Repeating Itself?

Expertise, barriers to learning and the precautionary principle
  • Denis Smith
  • Jo McCloskey
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Natural and Technological Hazards Research book series (NTHR, volume 16)

Abstract

“It may not be errors of fact that matter to the general public as much as errors of judgement”, Porritt (2000 p. 19)

The litany of major crisis events during the last decade alone would suggest that many organisations have poor learning skills with regard to both crisis prevention and disaster containment. A brief consideration of some examples serves to illustrate the problem. The loss of the roll-on, roll-off ferry, the Herald of Free Enterprise at Zeebrugge, raised questions about the culture of the operating company, the role of safety systems within the industry, and even the integrity of the vessel’s core design. However, it took the loss of the ferry Estonia to reinforce the view that this class of vessel may have an inherent design flaw. Despite these criticisms and findings, there is still considerable resistance amongst some operators to retrofit stability systems and bulkheads on such ferries, with cost often being the primary reason for such resistance.

Keywords

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Corporate Responsibility Precautionary Principle Crisis Management Tobacco Industry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anand, P. and Forshner, C. (1995) ‘Of mad cows and marmosets: From rational choice to organizational behaviour in crisis management’, British Journal of Management, 6, pp. 221–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Anheier and Moulton (1999) `Organizational Failures, Breakdowns, and Bankruptcies: An Introduction’ in Anheier, H. K. (Ed) When Things go Wrong — Organizational Failures and Breakdowns. London: Sage. pp 3–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Boehmer-Christiansen, S. (1994) “The precautionary principle in Germany–enabling government”, in O’Riordan, T. and Cameron J. (1994) (Eds) Interpreting the Precautionary Principle. London: Earthscan. pp. 31–60.Google Scholar
  4. Boisot, M. H. (1995) Information space - A framework for learning in organizations, institutions and culture. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, D. (1997) `How BSE crisis forced Europe out of its complacency’, Nature, 385 (No. 6611), p. 6–7. Collingridge, D. and Reeve, C. (1986) Science Speaks to Power. London: Francis PinterGoogle Scholar
  6. Crenson, M.A. (1972) The Un-politics of Pollution: Decision Making in the Cities. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Cutlip, R. (1996) “Current science on transmission of TSE”. Paper presented at the conference, Tissue Distribution, Inactivation and Transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) of Animals. A Symposium Sponsored by Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). 13 14 May 1996. http://dairy.umd.edu/vamer/cutlip.html Dealer, S. (1996) Lethal Legacy BSE - the search for the truth. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  8. Department of Health (1996a) CJD and public health - Stephen Dorrell Statement. 96/87 20 March 1996. http://www.coi.gov.uk/coi/depts/GDH/coi6741b.ok Google Scholar
  9. Department of Health (1996b) CJD and public health - Statement by the Chief Medical Officer. 96/86. 20 March 1996.http://www.coi.gov.uk /coi/depts/GDH/coi6738b.okGoogle Scholar
  10. Department of Health (1996c) CJD and children - Statement by the Chief Medical Officer. 96/91. 25 March 1996 http://www.coi.gov.uk/coi/depts/GDH/coi6903b.okGoogle Scholar
  11. Department of Health (1996d) CJD and children - Stephen Dorrell Statement. 96/92. 25 March 1996.http://www.coi.gov.uk /coildepts/GDH/coi6904b.okGoogle Scholar
  12. Department of Health (1996e) Stephen Dorrell’s opening statement to joint meeting of Agriculture and Health Select Committees: 27 march 1996. 96/98. 27 March 1996. http://www.coi.gov.uk.uk/coi/depts/GDH/coi7033b.ok Google Scholar
  13. Deville, A. and Harding, R. (1997) Applying the Precautionary Principle. Sydney: The Federation Press. DSmer, D. (1996) The logic of failure. Recognizing and avoiding error in complex situations. Reading, MASS: Persueus Books. (First published in German in 1989 ).Google Scholar
  14. Dowie, J. (1999) `Communication for better decisions: not about “risk, Health, Risk and Society, 1(1), pp. 41–53.Google Scholar
  15. Elliott, D., Smith, D. and McGuinness, T. (2000) “Exploring the failure to learn: Crises and the barriers to learning” Research in Business (forthcoming)Google Scholar
  16. Ewald, F. (1991) ‘Insurance and risk’ in, Govemmentality. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. pp. 197–210.Google Scholar
  17. Fischer, F. (1980) Politics, Values, and Public Policy: The Problem of Methodology. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  18. Fischer, F. (1990) Technology and the politics of expertise. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  19. Fortune, J. and Peters, G. (1995) Learning from Failure: The Systems Approach. Chichester: Wiley. Le Fanu, (1999) The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine. London: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  20. Foucault, M. (1991) `Politics and the study of discourse’ in Govemmentality. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. pp. 53–72.Google Scholar
  21. Garan, H., (1998), “The Human Factor in Industrial Disaster”, Disaster Prevention and Management, Vol. 7, No. 2, pp 92–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Gee, H. (1996) `Genetic link between BSE and CJD’, Nature.http://www.nature.com/Nature2/serve?SID=8505CAT=CornerPG=Update/update026.html Giddens, A. (1999) Runaway World. How globalisation is reshaping our lives. London: Profile Books.Google Scholar
  23. Glantz, S. A. and Balbach, E.D. (2000) Tobacco War. Inside the California Battles. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  24. Gordon, C. (1991) ‘Governmental rationality: An introduction’ in, Burchell, G., Gordon, C. and Miller, P. (Eds.) (1991) The Foucault E f fect. Studies in Governmentality. Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf. pp. 1–51.Google Scholar
  25. Green, K. and Yoxen, E. (1993) “Environmental perspectives of biotechnology”, in Smith, D. (Ed.) (1993) Business and the Environment: Implications of the new environmentalism, London: Paul Chapman Ltd. Health and Safety Executive (1996) Use of Risk Assessment within Government Departments. Report prepared by the Interdepartmental Liaison Group on Risk Assessment. London: HSE BooksGoogle Scholar
  26. Hill, J. (1994) “The precautionary principle and release of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) to the environment”, in O’Riordan, T. and Cameron J. (1994) (Eds) Interpreting the Precautionary Principle. London: Earthscan. Pp. 172–182.Google Scholar
  27. Hogwood, B.W. and Gunn, L.A. (1984) Policy Analysis for the Real World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hueston, W. (1996) “Overview of risk management applied to TSE”. Paper presented at the conference, Tissue_Distribution, Inactivation and Transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) of Animals. A Symposium Sponsored by Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). 13 14 May 1996.http://dairy.umd.edu/vamer/huston2.html Google Scholar
  29. Irwin, A. (1995) Citizen Science. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  30. Irwin, A. and Wynne, B. (Eds.) (1996) Misunderstanding Science? The public reconstruction of science and technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Irwin, A., Dale, A. and Smith, D. (1996) ‘Science and Hell’s Kitchen–The local understanding of hazard issues’, in. Irwin, A. and Wynne, B. (Eds.) (1996) Misunderstanding Science? The public reconstruction of science and technology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 47–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Jackson, W. (1999) ‘Foreword’ in, Raffensperger, C. and Tinkner, J. (Eds) (1999) Protecting public health and the environment. Implementing the precautionary principle. Washington DC: Island Books. pp. xv-xiv. Jones, R.M. (1997) Strategic management in a hostile environment. Lessons from the tobacco industry. Westport: Quorum Books.Google Scholar
  33. Jordan, A. and O’Riordan, T. (1999) ‘The precautionary principle in contemporary environmental policy and politics’ in, Raffensperger, C. and Tinkner, J. (Eds) (1999) Protecting public health and the environment. Implementing the precautionary principle. Washington DC: Island Books. pp. 15–35.Google Scholar
  34. Kimberlin, R. (1996). “Current science on the tissue distribution of TSE”. Paper presented at the conference, Tissue_ Distribution, Inactivation and Transmission of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) of Animals. A Symposium Sponsored by Department of Health and Human Services Food and Drug Administration, Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) and the United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). 13 14 May 1996. http://dairy.umd.edu/varner/kimber.html Google Scholar
  35. Knight, F. (1921) Risk, Uncertainty and Profit. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.Google Scholar
  36. Lacy, R. (1996a) ‘How Now Mad Cow?’. Viva Guide Number 3. http://www.veg.org/veg/Orgs/Viva/Guides/madcow.html Google Scholar
  37. Lacy, R. (1996b) ‘Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is being maintained by vertical and horizontal transmission’, Letters Section, British Medical Journal, 312, 20 January 1996.Google Scholar
  38. Lasch, C. (1995) The revolt of the elites and the betrayal of democracy. New York: W.W. Norton.Google Scholar
  39. MAFF (1996a) Statement of 20 March 1996 by Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg to House of Commons. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/bsestat l.htmGoogle Scholar
  40. MAFF (1996b) Statement of 25 March 1996 by Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg to House of Commons. http://www.maff.gov. uk/animalh/bse/bsestat2.htmGoogle Scholar
  41. MAFF (1996c) Announcement of 28 March 1996 by Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg on beef aid. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/bsestata.htm Google Scholar
  42. MAW (1996d) Statement of 3 April 1996 by Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg on tackling the beef crisis. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bselbsestatb.htm Google Scholar
  43. MAFF (1996e) Statement of 16 April 1996 by Agriculture Minister Douglas Hogg to House of Commons http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/bsestat3.htm Google Scholar
  44. MAFF (1996f) `Programme to eradicate BSE in the United Kingdom’. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/eradprog/eradprog.htm Google Scholar
  45. MAFF (1996f) `BSE, a chronology of events’. Appendix 2 of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Great Britain: a progress report, November 1996 http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/chron.htm Google Scholar
  46. MAFF (1997a) BSE: a summary of developments over the past twelve Months. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/bseanni.htm MAFF (1997b) UK: Selective Cull of Cattle Scheme http://www.maff.gov.uldanimalh/bse/selcull/scl.htm#A10 Google Scholar
  47. McQuaid, J. and Le Guen, J-M. (1998) `The use of risk assessment in Government’, in Hester, R.E. and Harrison, R.M. (Eds) Issues in Environmental Science and Technology. Number 9. Cambridge: Royal Society of Chemistry. pp. 21–36.Google Scholar
  48. Millstone, E. (1994) `Regulation, innovation and public welfare: The example of the Food Industry’, Technology Analysis and Strategic Management, 6 (3), pp. 329–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. O’Riordan, T. and Cameron J. (1994) “The history and contemporary significance of the precautionary principle’ in O’Riordan, T. and Cameron J. (1994) (Eds) Interpreting the Precautionary Principle. London: Earthscan. Pp. 12–30Google Scholar
  50. Orey, M. (1999) Assuming the risk: The mavericks, the lawyers, and the whistle-blowers who beat big tobacco. Boston, MASS: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  51. Pauchant, T. and Douville, R. (1993) `Recent research in crisis management: a study of 24 authors’ publications from 1986 to 1991’, Industrial and Environmental Crisis Quarterly, 7(1), pp. 43–66.Google Scholar
  52. Porritt, J. (2000) Playing Safe: Science and the environment. London: Thames and Hudson.Google Scholar
  53. Raffensperger, C. and Tinkner, J. (1999) `Introduction: To foresee and forestall’ in, Raffensperger, C. and Tinkner, J. (Eds) (1999) Protecting public health and the environment. Implementing the precautionary principle. Washington DC: Island Books. pp. 1–12.Google Scholar
  54. Reason, J. T. (1987) `An interactionist’s view of system pathology’, in Wise, J.A. and Debons, A. (Eds) Information Systems: Failure Analysis. Berlin: Springer-Verlag. Pp. 211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Reason, J.T. (1990) Human Error. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Rose, N. (1996) “The death of the social? Re-figuring the territory of government”, Economy and Society, 25 (3), pp. 327–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Sabatier, P. (1987) `Knowledge, policy-oriented learning, and Policy change’, Knowledge: Creation, Diffusion, Utilization. 8 (4), pp. 649–692.Google Scholar
  58. Santillo, D., Johnston, P. and Stringer, R. (1999) `The precautionary principle in practice: A mandate for anticipatory preventative action’, in, Raffensperger, C. and Tinkner, J. (Eds) (1999) Protecting public health and the environment. Implementing the precautionary principle. Washington DC: Island Books. pp. 36–50.Google Scholar
  59. Schulman, D.L. and Reason, J.T. (1991) `Systemic Influences of, Management and organisations on safety, in Karwowski, W. and Yates, J.W. (EDS). Advances in Industrial Ergonomics and Safety I/1._London: Taylor and Francis. Pp. 693–700.Google Scholar
  60. SEAC (1996a) BSE: statement by Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) of 20 March 1996 http://www.maff.gov.uk/animaltilbse/seacl.htm Google Scholar
  61. SEAC (19966) BSE: statement by Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) of 24 March 1996 http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/seac2.htm SEAC (1996c) BSE: statement by Spongiform Encephalopathy AdvisoryGoogle Scholar
  62. Committee (SEAC) of 7 June 1996: Recommendations on the handling of waste material from cattle. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/seac2a.htm Google Scholar
  63. SEAC (1996d) Statement by Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee (SEAC) on sheep and BSE. 10 July 1996. http://www.maff.gov.uk/animallilbse/seac3.htm Google Scholar
  64. SEAC (1996e) SEAC statement on maternal transmission of BSE. 29 July 1996 http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/seac4.htm Google Scholar
  65. SEAC (1997) Spongiform Encephalopathy Advisory Committee Statement on sheep and BSE. 23 May 1997 http://www.maff.gov.uk/animalh/bse/seac5.htm Google Scholar
  66. Sheldon, T. and Smith, D. (1992) ‘Assessing the health effects of waste disposal sites: Issues in risk analysis and some Bayesian conclusions’. In, Clark, M., Smith, D. and Blowers, A. (Eds.) (1992) Waste location: Spatial aspects of waste management, hazards and disposal. London: Routledge. Pp. 158–186.Google Scholar
  67. Smith, D. (1990) ‘Corporate power and the politics of uncertainty: Risk management at the Canvey Island complex’. Industrial Crisis Quarterly, 4 (1), pp. 1–26.Google Scholar
  68. Smith, D. (1991)The Kraken wakes - the political dynamics of the hazardous waste issue’ Industrial Crisis Quarterly 5(3), pp. 189–207.Google Scholar
  69. Smith, D. (1993) ‘The Frankenstein factor–Corporate responsibility and the environment’, in Smith, D. (Ed.) (1993) Business and the Environment: Implications of the new environmentalism_ London: Paul Chapman Ltd. pp. 172–189.Google Scholar
  70. Smith, D. (1995) The Dark Side of Excellence: Managing Strategic Failures’, in Thompson, J. (Ed) (1995) Handbook of Strategic Management. London: Butterworth-Heinemann. pp. 161–191.Google Scholar
  71. Smith, D. (1999) Accidents will happen…. but not to us? Safety as a core management function. Mimeo. Centre for Risk and Crisis Management Occasional Papers Number 1. University of Sheffield. (www.cracm.com/papers/99.1) Google Scholar
  72. Smith, D. (2000) Living on Factory Row. Issues in risk, public health and the precautionary principle. Mimeo. Centre for Risk and Crisis Management Occasional Papers Number 1. University of Sheffield. (www.cracm.com/papers/20.1) Google Scholar
  73. Smith, D. and Elliott, D. (2000) Moving Beyond Denial: Exploring the Barriers to Learning from Crisis. Mimeo. Centre for Risk and Crisis Management. University of Sheffield.Google Scholar
  74. Smith, D. and Lloyd; D. (1993) ‘Wither objectivity: Technocracy and the social construction of risk’, in Cox, R.F. and Watson, I.A. (Eds) (1993) Engineers and Risk Issues. Manchester: Safety and Reliability Society. Pp. 2/1–2/18.Google Scholar
  75. Smith, D. and McCloskey, J. (1998) “”Risk Communication and Social Amplification of Public Sector Risk“, Public Money and Management, 18 (4), pp 41–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Smith, D. and Tombs, S. (1995) ‘Self regulation as a control strategy for Major Hazards’ Journal of Management Studies, 32 (5), pp. 619–636.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Tait, J. and Levidow, L. (1992) “Proactive and reactive approaches to risk regulation: the case of biotechnology”, Futures, pp. 219–231.Google Scholar
  78. Tenner, E. (1996) Why things bite back - New technology and the revenge efject_London: Fourth Estate Limited.Google Scholar
  79. Toft, B. and Reynolds, S. (1994) Learning from Disasters. London: ButterworthGoogle Scholar
  80. Tombs, S. and Smith, D. (1995) ‘Corporate responsibility and crisis management: some insights from political and social theory’. Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 3 (3), pp. 135–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Turner, B.A. (1976) The organizational and interorganizational development of disasters’, Administrative Science Quarterly, 21, pp. 378–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Turner, B.A. (1978) Man-Made Disasters. London: Wykeham.Google Scholar
  83. Turner, B.A. (1994) `Causes of Disaster: Sloppy Management’, British Journal of Management, 5, pp. 215219.Google Scholar
  84. Weinberg, A.M. (1972) `Science and Trans-science’. Minerva, 10, pp. 209–222.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Wilson, D., Hickson, D. J. and Miller, S. J. (1999) ‘Decision Overreach as a Reason for Failure: How Oreganizations can Overbalance’ in Anheier, H. K. (Ed) When Things go Wrong — Organizational Failures and Breakdowns.London, Sage. pp 35–49Google Scholar
  86. Zapf, D. and Reason, J.T. (1994) `Introduction: Human errors and error handling’, Applied Psychology: An International Review, 43 (4), pp. 427–432.Google Scholar
  87. Zucker, L. G. and Darby, M. R. (1999) ‘Costly Information: Firm Transformation, Exit, or Persistent failure’ in Anheier, H. K. (Ed) When Things go Wrong — Organizational Failures and Breakdowns._London, Sage. pp 17–33Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Denis Smith
    • 1
  • Jo McCloskey
    • 2
  1. 1.Sheffield University Management SchoolCentre for Risk and Crisis ManagementSheffieldUK
  2. 2.School of Marketing, Bristol Business SchoolUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

Personalised recommendations