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Close Calls Organizations, near misses, alarms, and early warnings

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March 26-27 2009

Can we improve our capacity to foresee crises and disasters? Can corporations and states get smarter at reading and acting on warning signs? What are the dangers of reacting to every 'weak signal' and whistleblower? This conference explores how organizations of all kinds, particularly regulatory bodies and states, define and deal with errors, near misses and close calls as part of their management and regulation of risk.

Near miss analysis is normally associated with high reliability organizations, specifically safety management in the nuclear, chemical and airline industries. In theory, tolerances are specified and designed into technological infrastructures, and investigations are required when these tolerances are breached. But what is the potential reach and applicability of this kind of analysis beyond these specific contexts? For example: how do financial institutions and their regulators develop early warning capacities? What would constitute a 'near miss' for a food retailer or an energy company? Do organizational and system-wide management information systems trigger remedial actions at the right time?

These questions are of fundamental importance to 2009's bruised risk management agendas in both public and private organizations.  They are especially salient for regulatory bodies seeking to develop 'early warning' intelligence and foresight capacity at the inter-organizational and systemic level. From 'signals passed at speed' in the case of railways, to 'clinical error' in medicine and 'internal control weaknesses' in financial institutions, this conference will address a wide range of 'near miss' phenomena and practices in different fields with a view to illuminating this most challenging area for intelligent action.

The programme ranges across a variety of business fields and academic disciplines. It includes a practitioner panel session entitled: 'Organizations under stress - what are the warning signs?', which will emphasize risk and early warnings in the financial sector.

Please click here| to download the draft programme.

More details about the nature of the conference can be obtained directly from to Michael Power (M.K.Power@lse.ac.uk|) or John Downer (J.R.Downer@lse.ac.uk|) at CARR, London School of Economics and Political Science.

Registration for this conference is now closed. You may still attend the conference with payment on the day by cheque. If you have any queries, please contact CARR at regulation@lse.ac.uk|.

The conference fee is:

  • students £60
Students £60
Others £150