HOME  |  NEWS  |  BLOGS  |  MESSAGES  |  FEATURES  |  VIDEOS  |  WEBINARS  |  INDUSTRIES  |  FOCUS ON FUNDAMENTALS
  |  REGISTER  |  LOGIN  |  HELP
Blogs
Guest Blogs

Petroski on Engineering: The Normalization of Deviance

< Previous Page 2 / 2
View Comments: Newest First|Oldest First|Threaded View
<<  <  Page 4/4
naperlou
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Deviance is anything but normal
naperlou   1/5/2012 9:50:25 AM
It is interesting to draw parallels between the Space Shuttle and oil drilling.  While deep water drilling is much more complex than most other drilling, the Shuttle is something altogether different and more complex.  In the early days of rocket development, there were many failures.  Then, expendables became very reliable, although there are still occasional failures.  The thing that differentiates the Shuttle Program is that it invoives manned flight and that it was an attempt to present space flight as a routine, repeatable activity like airline travel.  It most decidely is not.  Between the high cost and high visibility of the program, failures are magnified.  We accept far more danger when we drvie a car. 

More people died in the Deep Horizon accident than in the Challenger accident.  In addition, there was significant environmental damage in the oil rig disaster than in the Shuttle accident. 

Alexander Wolfe
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Deviance is anything but normal
Alexander Wolfe   1/5/2012 8:59:34 AM
Excellent analysis, and the Challenger example spotlights the psychological aspect of the "normalization of deviance" culture which works its way into the engineering mindset in situations where the failure rate has previously been so low that it's easy(easier) to coerce the engineers responsible for ensuring safety that things have been OK for so long, why should this time be any different. In any life situation, there's pressure to conform to the group, and that's exploited in situations such as those described here. That's why when the disastrous consequences come, they seem to be outliers, but in reality they're not and are to be expected.

Beth Stackpole
User Rank
Blogger
Deviance is anything but normal
Beth Stackpole   1/5/2012 7:05:38 AM
NO RATINGS
Just reading Professor Petroski's post reminded me of watching those heart-wrenching images of oil gushing into the gulf and I'm glad it did. Truth is, once disasters like the BP oil spill or Japan's Fukushima are behind us (or at least out of sight in the media), the general public tends to forget and move on, which lets the corporate conglomerates get away with the human failure that Petroski's describes--the finger pointing and internal jockeying for where to place blame. Seems to me that dollars could have been well spent solving the mechanical problem--that is, redesigning or reengineering the blow-out preventor to operate more effectively no matter that it was a complex piece of machinery. Probably would have been far less painful to the bottom line then the PR and environmental recovery effort  that befell them after the disaster.

<<  <  Page 4/4
Partner Zone
More Blogs from Guest Blogs
The age of touch could soon come to an end. From smartphones and smartwatches, to home devices, to in-car infotainment systems, touch is no longer the primary user interface. Technology market leaders are driving a migration from touch to voice as a user interface.
Soft starter technology has become a way to mitigate startup stressors by moderating a motor’s voltage supply during the machine start-up phase, slowly ramping it up and effectively adjusting the machine’s load behavior to protect mechanical components.
Despite the astronomical benefits offered by 3D modeling, it is quite surprising that nearly 75% of the manufacturing industries still perform design operations using 2D CAD systems. What is the reason that keeps companies hesitant from adopting 3D technology?
Energy harvesting in particular seems to be moving at an accelerating pace. We now seem to be at a point where it is possible to run low-power systems primarily from energy harvesting sources. This is a big shift from even just a couple of years ago. Three key trends seem to have accelerated this dramatic shift.
ABI Research, a firm based in the UK that specializes in analyzing global connectivity and other emerging technologies, estimates there will be 40.9 billion active wirelessly interconnected “things” by 2020. The driving force is the usual suspect: the Internet of Things.
Design News Webinar Series
3/31/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
2/25/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
12/11/2014 8:00 a.m. California / 11:00 a.m. New York
5/7/2015 11:00 a.m. California / 2:00 p.m. New York
Quick Poll
The Continuing Education Center offers engineers an entirely new way to get the education they need to formulate next-generation solutions.
May 4 - 8, Designing Low Power Systems using Battery and Energy Harvesting Energy Sources
SEMESTERS: 1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6 |  7


Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.
Last Archived Class
Sponsored by Proto Labs
Learn More   |   Login   |   Archived Classes
Twitter Feed
Design News Twitter Feed
Like Us on Facebook

Sponsored Content

Technology Marketplace

Copyright © 2015 UBM Canon, A UBM company, All rights reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service