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The ETTO Principle: Efficiency-Thoroughness Trade-Off Why Things That Go Right Sometimes Go Wrong

by Professor Erik Hollnagel

The ETTO Principle: Efficiency-Thoroughness Trade-Off Why Things That Go Right Sometimes Go Wrong Synopsis

Accident investigation and risk assessment have for decades focused on the human factor, particularly 'human error'. Countless books and papers have been written about how to identify, classify, eliminate, prevent and compensate for it. This bias towards the study of performance failures, leads to a neglect of normal or 'error-free' performance and the assumption that as failures and successes have different origins there is little to be gained from studying them together. Erik Hollnagel believes this assumption is false and that safety cannot be attained only by eliminating risks and failures. The ETTO Principle looks at the common trait of people at work to adjust what they do to match the conditions - to what has happened, to what happens, and to what may happen. It proposes that this efficiency-thoroughness trade-off (ETTO) - usually sacrificing thoroughness for efficiency - is normal. While in some cases the adjustments may lead to adverse outcomes, these are due to the very same processes that produce successes, rather than to errors and malfunctions. The ETTO Principle removes the need for specialised theories and models of failure and 'human error' and offers a viable basis for effective and just approaches to both reactive and proactive safety management.

The ETTO Principle: Efficiency-Thoroughness Trade-Off Why Things That Go Right Sometimes Go Wrong Press Reviews

'This author isn't afraid to identify some of the elephants in the room of safety and supports his position with technical references.' Safety WA, February 2014

Book Information

ISBN: 9780754676782
Publication date: 28th May 2009
Author: Professor Erik Hollnagel
Publisher: Ashgate Publishing Limited an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd
Format: Paperback / softback
Pagination: 162 pages
Categories: Health & safety issues,

About Professor Erik Hollnagel

Erik Hollnagel (PhD, Psychology) is Professor and Industrial Safety Chair at MINES ParisTech (France), Professor Emeritus at University of LinkAping (Sweden), and Visiting Professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim (Norway). Since 1971 he has worked at universities, research centres and industries in several countries and with problems from several domains, including nuclear power generation, aerospace and aviation, air traffic management, software engineering, healthcare, and land-based traffic. His professional interests include industrial safety, resilience engineering, accident investigation, cognitive systems engineering and cognitive ergonomics. Erik Hollnagel has published more than 250 papers and authored or edited 13 books, some ...

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