Understanding organisational and cultural precursors to events

Richard Taylor, John May, Andrew Weyman, Neil Carhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
328 Downloads (Pure)


Reviewing the collective findings from investigations into a range of major events in high-hazard industries has led to the conclusion that there is a need to develop greater resilience to the organisational and cultural causes of these events. This requires more rigorous methods for identifying disaster precursors and for supporting intervention design. A study of the organisational and cultural precursors relating to 12 major events across several industries revealed shared precursors in areas such as leadership, operational attitudes and behaviours, communication, risk analysis, learning and oversight and scrutiny. This has enabled statements of good practice to be developed, together with question sets that can be used by regulators and the industry to profile organisational risk management resilience and thereby drive organisational learning. The research shows that the processes of incubation and evolution of disaster events can be complex and exercising control therefore requires development of more sophisticated ‘tools’ than are currently available. It has revealed repeating patterns of failure and the importance of psychological and behavioural factors which have led to poor decision-making. Causal loop modelling is being used to capture these patterns to facilitate the design of more informed interventions. Emerging issues and new approaches being developed are discussed and examples given.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2
Pages (from-to)124-133
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Forensic Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2017


  • Knowledge Management
  • Project Management
  • safety & hazards

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