Article ID: CBB642439933

Keeping the Lights On: A Comparison of Normal Accidents and High Reliability Organizations (June 2018)


Large technological systems have many modes of failure – some mundane, others exotic, some with dire consequences. Failures resulting in death and environmental degradation spring easily to mind: Chernobyl, Bhopal, Deepwater Horizon. As a large technological system, the U.S. electric power infrastructure experienced failures during major Northeast blackouts in 1965 and 2003, when large areas were left without power, and the system frequently experiences both large and small blackouts. How should we conceptualize failure in complex technological systems like electric power? [Peer reviewed]

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Authors & Contributors
Hirschauer, Stefan
Vleuten, Erik van der
Lagendijk, Vincent
Sahm, Astrid
Gerstenberger, Katharina
Wellock, Thomas Raymond
IEEE Technology and Society Magazine
History and Technology
Social Studies of Science
Energy Policy
German Studies Review
Johns Hopkins University Press
Duke University Press
MIT Press
Sociotechnical systems
Disasters; catastrophes
Electricity and Electrical Power
Nuclear power stations
Time Periods
21st century
20th century, late
20th century
19th century
Soviet Union
Arabian peninsula
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena
Mars Exploration Rover Mission (U.S.)
Gulf Cooperation Council

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