The role of mental models in social construction
Using the examples of the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle explosions, Werhane et al illustrate how smart, good-willed people and decent companies create or take part in flawed systems that produce untoward outcomes. The authors argue that the organizational causes of the Columbia failure demonstrated that little had changed at NASA to prevent a reoccurrence of the previous explosion. Some of the causes included poor communication between engineers and managers and accompanying clashing mindsets, hierarchical silos that interfered with organizational integration, faulty risk analysis, habits built from past shuttle successes and resulting overconfidence, and a complacent or "broken" safety culture, all of which created a culture that contributed to both shuttle tragedies.Original publication: "The Role of Mental Models in Social Construction." In Obstacles to Ethical Decision-Making by Patricia H. Werhane, Laura Hartman, Crina Archer, Elaine Englehardt and Michael Pritchard, 14–42. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. ©2013 Reprinted with permission.
Werhane, P. (2019)., The role of mental models in social construction, in D. Bevan & R. W. Wolfe (eds.), Systems thinking and moral imagination, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 105-127.
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