Understanding Systems Failures

Bignell, Victor and Fortune, Joyce (1984). Understanding Systems Failures. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


This book outlines a common approach to the understanding of many different kinds of failure: failures of machines, of individuals, of groups and businesses.

A dozen case histories are discussed by the authors. They range from the accident at the Three Mile Island power station to the collapse of Rolls-Royce and the sinking of a North Sea rig, each a result of a variety of faults and failures. Failures are then analysed through an approach based on the identification of the systems that failed and a comparison of these with a variety of standard systems.

The stories of many of these failures have never been written from such a perspective before, and this is the first time that a wide range of studies has been brought together to provide an understanding of failure in its widest possible sense.

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