Claus Rerup: Near Failures and Near Successes in the "Gray Zone"

Claus Rerup is an

associate professor of Organizational Behavior

at the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario and

…his work

explores how coordination, politics, and

heterogeneous information influence the ways in

which employees and managers collectively learn

from (rare) events.  In most cases firms

learn from an accident or crisis after the fact,

but many organizations can also learn valuable

lessons from a near disaster.

A couple of notable things:

1. The notion of “near failures” requires a basic update to many of our STS syllabi which contain numerous references to technological disasters. Certainly, my courses on STS primarily designed for engineering students cover engineering disasters at length, but fail to feature or conceptualize “near failures” and “near successes” and what might be learned about them and from them.

2. And I’m thinking explicitly about his paper “The gray zone between mindful and mindless organizing” — the notion of a gray zone between careful, mindful organizing and reckless, mindless organizing is an interesting idea where a lot of “noise” could be captured if properly conceptualized.

1 thought on “Claus Rerup: Near Failures and Near Successes in the "Gray Zone"

  1. This is a good point. Assessing what makes "near disasters" recognizable; we could call them "obviation studies" and if they were done well enough a series of indicators or preconditions might be developed to begin to address ahead of time as to obviate the problem, which then, in turn, will never have existed. This is a possible solution to the sociological problem of "non-events" that I have always, always wondered about … although, I hear that it has capsized a couple of careers. .Check out an old blog post of mine from about the topic:


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