Why you'll miss the warning signs of an impending crisis

Research shows that managers generally don't lack for information, they just fail to act on it.

by Stephen Jones

When a crisis strikes, it can seem as if it has suddenly come from nowhere. But look through the debris and almost always you’ll find a seemingly obvious trail of clues that if acted upon could have prevented disaster.

The repeated calls from engineers that the O-rings joining the fuel boosters of the doomed Space Shuttle Challenger had not been tested in cold temperatures; long-running budget stress and time pressures leading to a hastily designed oil well being constructed underneath BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig; the amassing data that consumers would rather stream movies than rent a DVD. 

Yet so often companies miss the warning signs that indicate catastrophe is imminent. A new study from HEC Paris Business School and University College Dublin reveals why.

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