I've been preoccupied with moving up to Washington D.C. for a summer internship (one of the many joys of graduate school - the moving and temporary housing for internships!) and I haven't had time to craft the next genius entry on an entirely new topic. So until then, I've decided to spotlight a few more interesting pieces on the oil spill - from the management/judgment and human decision-making perspectives - that I've found in the past week or so. Enjoy and let me know what you think!
- "Drilling for Answers: What can the BP oil spill disaster teach financeexecutives about risk?" by Kate O'Sullivan on CFO.com (posted May20, 2010) - I actually found this article because Ioften read Professor Michael Roberto's blog (he's a management professor at Bryant University) and he's interviewed and quoted here. O'Sullivan explores the ingredients of disasters like this one - including increasingly complex systems andaggressive cultures that discount risk - and how management professionals can use many of these lessons to better manage risk.
- "Anchoring" by Jonah Lehrer in his blog ("The Frontal Cortex") on ScienceBlogs (posted May 26, 2010)- from the brilliant author of How We Decide and Proust Was a Neuroscientist, this article discusses how errors and biases inhuman judgment and decision-making have influenced some of the decisions in this crisis and other failures of management/business, specifically anchoring and adjustment. Basically, because the chosen anchor in the oil spill was the belief that the spill was not too bad, solutions were generated to deal with a much smaller problem - it's taken some time toget to the point where officials and problem-solvers are examining how to fix an enormous mess. While I might not lay as much blame on anchoring and adjustmenterrors as much as I'd blame the "cover your ass" and "if we don't tell, no one will know"-type thinking, it's an interesting connection between JDM and the current crisis.
- "Nuke That Oil Well" by Robin Hanson on Overcoming Bias (posted May 30, 2010) - an economist writes about the reasons why using a controlled nuclear blast to stop the oil leakage is not being used or even considered... the comments show some interesting ideas and perspectives that make me question whether the blast would be an acceptable solution here in this situation, but still an interesting idea about how public opinion can bias public policy decisions.
- "The Primary Reason Businesses Fail: Focusing on the Wrong Bottom Line" by RonaldRiggio on his "Cutting-Edge Leadership" blog on Psychology Today (posted May 1, 2010) - this article isn't exactly focusing on the BP oil issues, but Riggio points out that by focusing only on profits, BP fails us and the plant.
- "BP: Why can't they say they are sorry and trying to make sure it will never happen again?" by Robert Sutton on his "Work Matters" blog on Psychology Today (posted May 25, 2010) - the title really says it all... Sutton references BP's own statements and press releases and shows why they defy research on how best to handle PR nightmares... it's hard to imagine how BP's image and reputation could be in worse shape right now...
- "From 'Top Kill' to 'Dead Man's Switch': What BP's Oil Spill Lexicon Reveals About Its Brand" by Jeremy Boiter on Fast Company (posted May 27, 2010) - not exactlyamanagement-type article like the others, but an interesting essay about the names of the varies strategies and plans that BP has.... and how insensitive it is to have names that include "kill" and "dead man" when the accidents have been deadly.
- "Journal makes oil-related studies available free" - from the Futurity vault, Rice University news - the genius here is less in the article and more about the common sense brilliance of opening up all of the scholarly research and literature on oil spills, including lessons learned from Exxon Valdez and published in peer reviewed journals, so that anyone can use it to problem solve.