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Minding the Machines: Preventing Technological Disasters by Mark Manion, William M. Evan

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Chapter 4. Theories of Technological Disasters

 

“Nothing is so practical as a sound theory”

 
 --Kurt Lewin

The pivotal concept of technological disaster seems to be self-evident. In reality, however, its definition is anything but self-evident. Four different theories—systems theory, normal accident theory, high reliability theory, and sociotechnical systems theory—are presented. Our task in this chapter is to clarify the meaning of technological disaster by analyzing these four theories.

A Systems Approach to Technological Disasters

A closed-systems analysis treats any technological system as independent of external factors and tends to focus exclusively on internal structural properties and internal relations; analysis of parts of the system is ...

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