Organisational failure and public policy disasters

Organisational Failure (OF) and its prevention is a key challenge to management and governance in both the private and the public or 'third' (non-profit, non-governmental) sector. This course combines a series of theoretical approaches to OF/PPD with well documented empirical cases of clear and undisputed failure. Students learn to discern the differences between the human and the structural causes of failure. Part I (sessions 2-4) addresses classic and recent, generic and specific approaches to the phenomenon of failure in general and organisational failure in particular. Part II (sessions 5-6) is devoted to the basic methodological tool when it comes to the analysis of organisational failure, which is case studies. In part III (sessions 7-12) case studies of serious organisational failure will be conducted and presented by the participants of the course. These include (I) socio-technical systems (the space shuttle Challenger accident of 1986; the Three Mile Island nuclear plant disaster in 1979 and the Fukushima accident of 2011; the Gulf of Mexico oil spill of 2010), (II) international organisation and security agencies (the collapse of the United Nations mission and the subsequent genocide in Rwanda in 1994; the inability of the international community to protect the UN 'safe area' Srebrenica during the Bosnian war in 1995; the failure of US security services prior to 9/11 to analyse the terrorist threat and to prevent the attack of September 11, 2001) and (III) civil administration (the break down of disaster relief in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005; the collapse of the CTV Building, Christchurch, during the Earthquake in New Zealand in 2011; the Warehouse Fire in Oakland (USA) in 2016).

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.