Could the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers have been avoided? What about the control failures in the recent global financial crisis? Behind these apparently very different events, it is possible to identify a common element of organizational myopia - a syndrome that severely limits the capacity of organizations to foresee the effects of their own decisions and to recognize signs of danger or opportunity. Organizational Myopia explores the barriers that impede organizations from identifying an effective response to the problems that they have to confront. Using real-world cases, the author investigates the mechanisms that generate myopia in organizations at the individual, organizational, and interorganizational level in contexts that are complex, uncertain, ambiguous, and changeable. This book will help readers understand how to limit the origins of myopia and therefore increase the capacity of organizations to anticipate and contain unexpected events.
Maurizio Catino is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Research at the University of Milan, Bicocca, Italy. He is the author of From Chernobyl to Linate: Technological Accidents or Organizational Errors? (2006) and Understanding Organizations (2012). He has published several articles on learning from organizational errors and the problem of blame culture, medical error and defensive medicine, and the logics of inquiry in case of disasters. He is senior policy advisor for the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Medical Errors and scientific director of the research program on Human factors and safety culture at the Italian Air Force.
Introduction; 1. Cases of myopia; 2. Uncertainty and predictability in organizations; 3. The mechanisms of organizational myopia; 4. Anticipating risk: the problem of learning; 5. Implications for organizational design; Epilogue.