Knowledge Content Library
Don’t sweat the small stuff? Organization’s Experience with Near Misses
Robin Dillon-Merrill & Cathy Tinsley, Georgetown University, Peter Madsen, Brigham Young University
Abstract: A near-miss is an event where the possibility of a failure is present but does not materialize. Many organizations in high-hazard industries have recently adopted near-miss learning systems in the hope that their members will learn from such events to prevent significant failures from occurring in the future. The challenge with correctly learning from near misses is that since the event is not a failure, decision makers must recognize that although a negative event did not happen, it might have occurred. If decision makers do not correctly distinguish between successes and near misses, organizations and their members can systematically take away the wrong lessons from the event and future performance could decline (rather than improve) as experience accumulates.
This talk will summarize prior research that examines near-misses in a variety of safety critical contexts including space missions, commercial aviation and the US coal mining industry. The research uses both field data and behavioral laboratory studies to generate insights into how decision makers think about near-misses and what is commonly learned from these events.
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Keywords: analysis and modeling anamod, near miss, risk and uncertainty riskunc, risk analysis riskanal, failure