Charles Perrow

Charles Perrow
Yale University | YU · Department of Sociology

About

123
Publications
14,177
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18,389
Citations
Introduction

Publications

Publications (123)
Article
Over the last 30 years, the U.S. states has retreated from its regulatory responsibility over private-sector economic activities. Over the same period, a celebratory literature, mostly in political science, has developed, characterizing the current period as the rise of the regulatory state or regulatory capitalism. The notion of regulation in this...
Article
Black Mountain College, near Asheville, North Carolina, was an icon of progressive education during its short life, from 1933 to 1956. Isolated in the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina, it was one of the very few schools in the country that was open to experimentation. Buckminster Fuller's students demonstrate the lightness of the dome during...
Article
Governments and the nuclear power industry have a strong interest in playing down the harmful effects of radiation from atomic weapons and nuclear power plants. Over the years, some scientists have supported the view that low levels of radiation are not harmful, while other scientists have held that all radiation is harmful. The author examines the...
Article
Governments regulate risky industrial systems such as nuclear power plants in hopes of making them less risky, and a variety of formal and informal warning systems can help society avoid catastrophe. Governments, businesses, and citizens respond when disaster occurs. But recent history is rife with major disasters accompanied by failed regulation,...
Article
Full-text available
A stalled nuclear waste program, and possible increase in wastes, beg for social science input into acceptable solutions.
Article
This volume includes two major explanations of the meltdown that I critically discuss. The first is a “normal accident theory” arguing that the complexity and coupling of the financial system caused the failure. Although these structural characteristics were evident, I argue that the case does not fit the theory because the cause was not the system...
Chapter
Natural disasters, unintended disasters (largely industrial and technological), and deliberate disasters have all increased in number and intensity in the United States in the last quarter century2(see Figure 32.1) In the United States we may prevent some and mitigate some, but we can’t escape them. At present, we focus on protecting the targets an...
Article
Normal accident theory says nothing about the time dimension that triggers human failures and thus is not appropriately applied by Shrivastava et al., in their article. Indeed, the theory focuses upon system aspects rather than human behavior, thus no reconciliation is needed with those that focus upon human behavior, it just more economically expl...
Article
The article reviews the book "High Reliability Management: Operating on the Edge," by Emery Roe and Paul R. Schulman.
Article
I examine the apparent deverticalization of firms in the world economy and their adoption of relational contracting and modularization, necessitated by rapid product change, cheap and rapid transport, and new technologies. I argue that relational contracting is superseded by modularization when possible in the interest of more control over supplier...
Article
Charles Perrow is famous worldwide for his ideas about normal accidents, the notion that multiple and unexpected failures--catastrophes waiting to happen--are built into our society's complex systems. In The Next Catastrophe, he offers crucial insights into how to make us safer, proposing a bold new way of thinking about disaster preparedness. Perr...
Article
The US government is planning to prevent disasters in the country by concentrating on risky area of populations, economic power in the huge corporations, and hazardous materials that sit astride the nation's critical infrastructures. Other concentration of populations in the risky areas aftermath of Hurricane Katrina include California's Delta, whe...
Article
Charles Perrow, professor emeritus of sociology at Yale University, expresses his views on fighting global terrorism. Perrow believes that governments should focus on defending against natural calamities and industrial accidents, which are more frequent and disastrous threats. By defending against these eventualities, the damages from terrorist att...
Article
Complex and tightly coupled systems are inherently vulnerable to major system accidents, but some difficult structural changes can reduce their vulnerability. They can be decomposed into units that are connected by monitored links, despite the inefficiency of such decentralization. Designs can be inelegant and robust, rather than elegant and sensit...
Article
Reviews Risk, Uncertainty, and Rational Action , by Carlo C. Jaeger, Ortwin Renn, Eugene A. Rosa, and Thomas Webler (see record 2001-18228-000 ). After a stratospheric introductory chapter on the nature of modernity, this book descends to the familiar territory of risk analysis and uncertainty, with illustrative decision trees and game theory examp...
Article
Organizations are the most intensive and effective environmental destroyers. Organizations in a competitive unregulated market such as the United States and emerging Asian and former Soviet countries are more likely to be destructive because externalizing environmental costs increases profits and competitiveness, but organizational properties encou...
Article
We use the case of the now-dead Shoreham Nuclear Power Station to pose some questions, and a few answers, about organizational failure. The analysis centers on the symbolism of organizational plans, specifically how organizations use plans to justify increasingly complex systems to themselves and to others. That such plans are based on sparse or no...
Article
Las organizaciones son el fenómeno clave de nuestro tiempo, convirtiendo a la política, las clases sociales, la economía, la tecnología, la religión y la familia en variables dependientes. Se argumenta en este artículo que las organizaciones son la clave de la sociedad porque las grandes organizaciones han absorbido a la sociedad. Los tres fenómeno...
Article
Este artículo sostiene que están emergiendo en los Estados Unidos nuevas relaciones de producción, basadas en el poder de la clase profesional, así como en el poder de la clase capitalista. Basándose en un amplio estudio de corporaciones americanas, administraciones públicas, universidades y practicas profesionales, los autores sostienen que los pr...
Article
Ausgangspunkt ist die These, daß die Analyse von Organisationen der Schlüssel zum Verständnis unserer Gesellschaft ist, weil Organisationen vieles der Gesellschaft in sich aufgenommen haben. Am Beispiel von Organisationen in den USA werden drei Phänomene beschrieben, die charakteristisch für eine Gesellschaft von Organisationen sind: 1. Lohnabhängi...
Article
This collection of papers is edited by renowned business thinker Oliver Williamson, who is currently Transamerica Professor of Corporate Strategy at the School of Business Administration at Berkeley. The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Chester I. Barnard's remarkable and still influential book, The Functions of the Executive, was celebra...
Article
Normal Accidents analyzes the social side of technological risk. Charles Perrow argues that the conventional engineering approach to ensuring safety--building in more warnings and safeguards--fails because systems complexity makes failures inevitable. He asserts that typical precautions, by adding to complexity, may help create new categories of ac...
Article
Human factors engineering concerns the design of equipment in accordance with the mental and physical characteristics of operators. Human factors engineers advise design engineers, but the organizational context limits their influence and restricts their perspective. The discussion of organizational context in this paper explains why military and i...
Article
Organizational structure is analyzed for the impact it has on the human factors function in military and non-military organizations. The social structure's impact upon design engineers, the social role of the operator, and on the human factors engineer is detailed. The impact of equipment upon the operator and upon the social structure is detailed....
Article
Drawing on the perspective developed in recent work by Oberschall (1973), Tilly (1975) and Gamson (1975), we analyze the political process centered around farm worker insurgencies. Comparing the experience of two challenges, we argue that the factors favored in the classical social movement literature fail to account for either the rise or outcome...
Article
http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/51347/1/583.pdf

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