Sidney W. A. Dekker

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OBJECTIVE This paper analyzes some of the problems with error counting as well as the difficulty of proposing viable alternatives. BACKGROUND Counting and tabulating negatives (e.g., errors) are currently popular ways to measure and help improve safety in a variety of domains. They uphold an illusion of rationality and control but may offer neither real(More)
a special look at contextual enquiry as a putatively (and indeed potentially) superior way of giving end users a serious say in the procurement process of complex cogni-tive systems. " End user " Human-centered systems result when software engineers or developers give attention to the orientations, expectations, and understandings of the people who will be(More)
Future air traf®c management architectures propose to give aircraft more ¯ight path autonomy and turn the air traf®c controller into a manager of exceptions. This article reports on one experiment in a series of studies that empirically explored the cognitive work underlying management by exception in air traf®c control. Active practitioners (controllers,(More)
To bridge the gap between psychology and engineering, human factors research routinely engages in a kind of ontological alchemy which turns putative mental constructs into measurable numbers. We should not overestimate the ontological status of our constructs, nor underestimate the extent to which our own research that makes them “real.”
Deference to operational or engineering expertise is considered critical for maintaining safety in many industries. At the same time, legitimating specialized knowledge can help create “prima donnas,” expert operators who attain considerable organizational status and informal power. Safety can be used as a lever to gain industrial advantage or maintain(More)
Safety science is one of the enduring enlightenment projects, which believes that rationality can create a better, more controllable world. Accidents are not seen as meaningless coincidences, but as failures of risk management, as something that can be improved in the future. The tragedy of safety research is that it has to simultaneously deny and affirm(More)