The report is to be applauded because of its clearness, and thoroughness, as well as for recognizing the complicated and systemic nature of the reason. However, what it does not recognize would be that the structural failing of management is embedded in an even wider context, specifically how inside our culture we run our economies and companies. With all this wider economic context, it is inevitable that similar disasters – of similar apocalyptic proportions – may happen in the future.
Strikingly, when reading the statement, the parallels between this debacle and other corporate and business disasters of the recent and more faraway recent are stunningly clear. And I am sure these businesses are to blame, and their CEOs do bring responsibility for the catastrophe but to name and shame them as the only real reason behind the misfortune seems an unhealthy oversimplification.
But, as the Presidential Committee concludes “the main causes are systemic” rightly, representing an “overall failure of management”, as opposed to the activities of a particular person or even a particular company. When you analyze the lack of communication systems, safety culture, inadequate decision making processes, and so on, a tragedy – somewhere sooner or later – seemed inevitable and the proverbial accident waiting to occur. The anthropologists Anthony Oliver-Smith and Susanna Hoffman, who examined a number of man-made disasters, concluded concerning this “a tragedy becomes unavoidable in the context of the historically produced pattern of vulnerability”.
- 15 percent of March sales
- Strengthening commodity markets
- 24 hours. (1