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Amy Edmondson
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Human Dimensions of Fire Management

NRFSN number: 15878
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Researchers have often studied and discussed errors and accidents within an organizational setting in two ways. The first focuses on the individual, while the second looks at the system in which the individual operates. Edmondson argues for a third perspective, one that looks at both the individual and the system, and specifically focuses on the work group. She examines the way that work groups can be used to “coordinate and to catch each other’s mistakes”. Edmonson examined medical errors in administering medications in two hospitals. She found that overall error incidences were lower when coordinated teams were used. This article has relevance for those interested in examining errors owing to the entire system rather than only the individual or the organization.


Edmondson A. 1996. Learning from mistakes is easier said than done: group and organizational influences on the detection and correction of human error. Journal of Applied Behavioral Science 32(1), p 5-28.

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