What is the cause of the mishap? In the aftermath of failure, no question seems more acute. There can be significant pressure from all kinds of directions to pinpoint a cause:
- Not knowing what made a system fail is really scary;
- People want to start investing in countermeasures;
- People want to know how to adjust their behavior to avoid the same kind of trouble;
- People may simply seek retribution, punishment, justice.
Two persistent myths drive our search for the cause of failure:
- We think we can make a distinction between human error and mechanical failure, and that a mishap has to be caused by either one or the other. This is an oversimplification. Once you acknowledge the complexity of failure, you will ...