June 21, 2010 | Mark Paradies

Are We Blaming BP Rather Than Learning From What Went Wrong?

Most investigators agree that blame makes an accident investigation more difficult. If someone thinks they are going to be blamed (and perhaps fired), they often provide less information than if they were in a non-blame environment.

Might the same concept be true for companies?

For example, did sending the Attorney General to the Gulf to start a criminal investigation of BP make BP less cooperative?

If you were a senior executive and you might face charges (environmental or corporate manslaughter), would you be open in a Congressional hearing?

It seems we are in the middle of “blame season” for the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon accident. But there is so much that could be learned about how an organization can prevent people putting cost and time pressure above safety. It seems a shame that blame should get in the way.

I understand the need for justice and the desire to punish corporate criminals, but if we start down this road, are we missing a chance to learn and prevent similar corporate culture accidents in the future?

Leave a comment … Let me know what you think …

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