Category Archives: Human Factors

Rhona Flin and Sidney Dekker are among the keynote speakers at the 10th Australian Aviation Psychology Association International Symposium later this month

‘Next Generation Safety’ is the conference theme at the AAvPA (Australian Aviation Psychology Association) International Symposium, taking place in Manly, Australia, 19-22 November 2012.

Among the keynote speakers are Rhona Flin, co-author of Safety at the Sharp End, and Sidney Dekker, whose Second Edition of Just Culture was published in June 2012.

Ashgate will be displaying an extensive selection of books, so if you’re at the conference do come along and take a look. If you’re not able to attend, you can always browse the Human Factors pages on our website…

Ashgate at the Building Fatigue Management into Safety Systems conference

Ashgate are a sponsor and exhibitor at the Building Fatigue Management into Safety Systems conference organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Human Factors and Operations Training Group, 30 October, 2012, Crawley, UK. We are particularly pleased to support the Helen Muir Award which will be presented at the event.

At the conference Captain Daniel Maurino will introduce the SMS concept and its relationship to Human Factors. He is a series editor for Ashgate Studies in Human Factors for Flight Operations.

Human Factors in Defence series – a call for proposals

We are actively seeking proposals for our Human Factors in Defence series.

The series is edited by Don Harris (HFI Solutions Ltd); Neville Stanton (University of Southampton) and Eduardo Salas, University of Central Florida.

Books in the series:

Designing Soldier SystemsPamela Savage-Knepshield, John Martin, John Lockett III and Laurel Allender (December 2012)

The Human Factors of FratricideLaura A. Rafferty, Neville A. Stanton and Guy H. Walker

Trust in Military TeamsNeville A. Stanton

Human-Robot Interactions in Future Military OperationsMichael Barnes and Florian Jentsch

Neurocognitive and Physiological Factors During High-Tempo OperationsSteven Kornguth, Rebecca Steinberg and Michael D. Matthews

Command and Control: The Sociotechnical PerspectiveGuy H. Walker, Neville A. Stanton, Paul M. Salmon and Daniel P. Jenkins

Human Factors Issues in Combat IdentificationDee H. Andrews, Robert P. Herz and Mark B. Wolf

Distributed Situation AwarenessPaul M. Salmon, Neville A. Stanton, Guy H. Walker and Daniel P. Jenkins

Digitising Command and ControlNeville A. Stanton, Daniel P. Jenkins, Paul M. Salmon, Guy H. Walker, Kirsten M. A. Revell and Laura Rafferty

Human Factors for Naval Marine Vehicle Design and OperationJonathan M. Ross

Cognitive Work Analysis: Coping with ComplexityDaniel P. Jenkins, Neville A. Stanton, Paul M. Salmon and Guy H. Walker

Macrocognition in TeamsMichael P. Letsky, Norman W. Warner, Stephen M. Fiore and C.A.P. Smith

Modelling Command and ControlNeville A. Stanton, Chris Baber and Don Harris

Performance Under StressPeter A. Hancock and James L. Szalma

Human factors is key to enabling today’s armed forces to implement their vision to “produce battle-winning people and equipment that are fit for the challenge of today, ready for the tasks of tomorrow and capable of building for the future” (source: UK MoD).

Modern armed forces fulfil a wider variety of roles than ever before.  In addition to defending sovereign territory and prosecuting armed conflicts, military personnel are engaged in homeland defence and in undertaking peacekeeping operations and delivering humanitarian aid right across the world.

This requires top class personnel, trained to the highest standards in the use of first class equipment.  The military has long recognised that good human factors is essential if these aims are to be achieved.

The defence sector is by far and away the largest employer of human factors personnel across the globe and is the largest funder of basic and applied research.  Much of this research is applicable to a wide audience, not just the military; this series aims to give readers access to some of this high quality work.

Ashgate’s Human Factors in Defence series publishes specially commissioned books from internationally recognised experts in the field. They provide in-depth, authoritative accounts of key human factors issues being addressed by the defence industry across the world.

We are actively commissioning new books within this area. If you have a proposal that you feel is appropriate to the series, please contact the Publisher, Guy Loft.

The second edition of Sidney Dekker’s Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability

Posted by Luigi Fort, Senior Marketing Executive, Aviation and Human Factors

Building on the enormous success of the 2007 original, Dekker revises, enhances and expands his view of just culture for a second edition, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside of organizations. The goal remains the same: to create an environment where learning and accountability are fairly and constructively balanced.

The First Edition of Sidney Dekker’s Just Culture brought accident accountability and criminalization to a broader audience. It made people question, perhaps for the first time, the nature of personal culpability when organizational accidents occur.

Having raised this awareness the author then discovered that while many organizations saw the fairness and value of creating a just culture they really struggled when it came to developing it: What should they do? How should they and their managers respond to incidents, errors, failures that happen on their watch?

In this Second Edition, Dekker expands his view of just culture, additionally tackling the key issue of how justice is created inside organizations. The new book is structured quite differently.  Chapter One asks, ‘what is the right thing to do?’ – the basic moral question underpinning the issue.  Ensuing chapters demonstrate how determining the ‘right thing’ really depends on one’s viewpoint, and that there is not one ‘true story’ but several. This naturally leads into the key issue of how justice is established inside organizations and the practical efforts needed to sustain it. The following chapters place just culture and criminalization in a societal context. Finally, the author reflects upon why we tend to blame individual people for systemic failures when in fact we bear collective responsibility.

The changes to the text allow the author to explain the core elements of a just culture which he delineated so successfully in the First Edition and to explain how his original ideas have evolved. Dekker also introduces new material on ethics and on caring for the’ second victim’ (the professional at the centre of the incident). Consequently, we have a natural evolution of the author’s ideas. Those familiar with the earlier book and those for whom a just culture is still an aspiration will find much wisdom and practical advice here.


Prologue: A nurse’s error became a crime

  1. What is the right thing to do?
  2. You have nothing to fear if you’ve done nothing wrong
  3. Between culpable and blameless
  4. Are all mistakes equal?
  5. Report, disclose, protect learn
  6. A just culture is your organization
  7. The criminalization of human error
  8. Is criminalization bad for safety?
  9. Without prosecutors there would be no crime
  10. Three questions for your just culture
  11. Why do we blame?


About the author: Sidney Dekker is Professor of Humanities at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. Educated as a psychologist in the Netherlands, he gained his Ph.D. in Cognitive Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University, USA. He has lived and worked in Sweden, England, Singapore, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. The author of several best-selling books on system failure and human error, Sidney has been flying the Boeing 737NG part-time as an airline pilot.

What people are saying about the Second Edition:

‘Thought-provoking, erudite, and analytical, but very readable, Sidney Dekker uses many practical examples from diverse safety-critical domains and provides a framework for managing this issue. A ‘must-read’ for anyone interested in safety improvement, but also, one hopes, for politicians, law-makers and the judiciary.’    Dr Tom Hugh, MDA National Insurance Ltd, Sydney, Australia

‘With surgical precision Sidney Dekker lays bare the core elements of a just culture. He convincingly explains how this desired outcome arises from a combination of accountability and (organisational) learning. The real-life cases in the book serve to drive his arguments home in a way that will be easily recognised and understood by practitioners in safety-critical industries, and hopefully also by rule makers and lawyers.’   Bert Ruitenberg, IFATCA Human Factors Specialist

‘Just Culture is essential reading for airline managers at all levels to both understand the endless conflicts that staff face trying to deliver the almost undeliverable and to reconcile accountability for failure with learning from that failure. A soul searching and compelling read.’    Geoffrey Thomas, Air Transport World

More information about Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability 

Does flying lead to loose talk?

Posted by Luigi Fort, Senior Marketing Executive, Aviation and Human Factors

A recent extensive article in the New York Times investigated the propensity for business travellers on commercial flights to disclose information better kept within the confines of the office. Is this owing to carelessness, ignorance of the risks or perhaps something to do with the passenger cabin environment?

In the article, Rob Bor, Ashgate author of Passenger Behaviour, suggests that the emotional and physical strains on passengers makes them susceptible to being indiscrete. He says: “Being at 35,000 feet for more than two hours is going to make you mildly hypoxic, and slightly less oxygen will make you euphoric or may give slightly poorer judgment.”

New books – Human Factors, Law, Reference Series

Human Factors

Writing Human Factors Research Papers: A Guidebook   Don Harris, HFI Solutions Ltd, UK, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China and Leicester University, UK


Legisprudence: Practical Reason in Legislation    Luc J. Wintgens, University of Brussels, Belgium

Most Deserving of Death? An Analysis of the Supreme Court’s Death Penalty Jurisprudence    Kenneth Williams, South Texas College of Law, USA

The Neurobiology of Criminal Behavior: Gene-Brain-Culture Interaction    Anthony Walsh and Jonathan D. Bolen, both at Boise State University, USA

Reference Series

Social Learning Theories of Crime    Edited by Christine S. Sellers, University of South Florida, USA, L. Thomas Winfree, Jr, New Mexico State University, USA and Ronald L. Akers, University of Florida, USA

Procedural Justice    Edited by Larry May, Vanderbilt University, USA and Paul Morrow, Vanderbilt University, USA

The International Law of Peace and Security: 4-Volume Set    Edited by Nigel D. White, University of Nottingham, UK

How can sustainable recovery of the global financial system be established? How can its resilience be improved?

The recent financial crisis has made it paramount for the financial services industry to find new perspectives to look at their industry and, most importantly, to gain a better understanding of how the global financial system can be made less vulnerable and more resilient.

Governance and Control of Financial Systems: A Resilience Engineering Perspective illustrates how the safety science of Resilience Engineering can help to gain a better understanding of what the financial services system is and how to improve governance and control of financial services systems by leveraging some of its key concepts.

Resilience is the intrinsic ability of a system to adjust its functioning prior to, during, or following changes and disturbances, so that it can sustain required operations under both expected and unexpected conditions. This definition is focused on the ability to function, rather than just to be impervious to failure, and thereby bridges the traditional conflict between productivity and safety.

Governance and Control of Financial Systems: A Resilience Engineering Perspective is edited by Gunilla Sundström, Deutsche Bank, Germany and Erik Hollnagel, Institute of Public Health, University of Southern Denmark.