Avoiding ‘over-confidence’ may prevent disaster

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EXPERIENCING failure and avoiding 
over-confidence could have prevented some of the world’s greatest disasters such as the sinking of the Titanic and the loss of two Nasa space shuttles, according to research by the University of Portsmouth.

Professor Ashraf Labib and Dr Martin Read, of the university’s Business School, claim that organisations could prevent major problems by suffering and learning from previous difficulties.

The new research – published in the Safety Science journal – said the Columbia and Challenger space shuttle disasters as well as the Titanic sinking, and two BP oil refinery explosions all had in common an ‘inflated degree of confidence’.

Prof Labib said: ‘A lack of failure can lead to over-confidence and blindness to the possibility of problems.’