Accident And Design by C. Hood

Posted By: Alexpal
Accident And Design by C. Hood
Publisher: UCL Press; 1 edition (October 1, 1996) | ISBN: 1857285972 | PDF | 1,85 Mb | 253 pages

The argument of this contribution is that, although [conventional way of doing things] is always likely to have a place in risk management, there is no reason why it should be the only available approach.

The very fact that appears to have triggered this publication was the (scientific society) rejection of some other previosuly published work on the grounds of "not being scientific enough".

The main idea of this book is that risk management is subject to uncertainties so high, that common "scientific" way of dealing with risks is not working. And their arguments are very convincing. The following two metaphors from the book will let you quickly catch it.

Conventional approach is compared with a thermostat. Once set to a desired temperature it uses feedback mechanisms to return to equilibrium.

The argued for approach is compared with a desk lamp, the one with two springs on it's sides. The lamp is always experienses heavy tensions from both springs, but as soon as they counterbalance each other, the lamp is not only keeping steady state, it also can be adjusted into any desired position with a fingertip touch.

Not just as simple as that, the authors offer a set of dimensions along which the taxonomy of risk management principles and procedures can be measured. There are seven such axes. Along each axis, the two diametrically opposed point of views are proposed and discussed in two or more chapters. This gives a good coverage of the entire spectrum.

The book was published in 1996, ten years back in time at the moment of this writing, but I doubt if there were some groundbreaking developments in the topic of risk management. This by the way is one of the other discussed traits of risk management: as it's not "normal" science, it has to deal with political and societal forces and those are very slow to change.

I came to this book from software development point of view, and although it discusses environmental hazards instead, it's highly philosophical and before I knew it, I ended up writing notes on the margins and underlining the entire paragraphs.


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