Listen to Sidney Dekker lecturing about drift into failure

Dear readers, I am happy to be able to offer you a one-hour sound file of Sidney Dekker lecturing on the topic of drift into failure (the title of his latest book). The lecture was held at the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and the sound file embedded here should be credited the organizers of the festival.

It is a typical Sidney-lecture, jumping like a good comedian from really deep and serious stories to crazy jokes in a seemingly improvised manner. The outline of the talk ("let me share with you some stories") has some similarities to another really famous lecture that has over the last week been linked to, in memorial to its writer, at uncountably (if that is not a word it should become one) many places online. It is a nice way of building your argument, the narrative technique.

"What is this drift-thing all about?" you may wonder considering whether to play the file or not. Well, very briefly, the way Sidney uses the concept is as a contemporary theoretical concept to describe how things go right and wrong in complex organizations. By linking classical theories of organizational failure (like "man-made disasters" and "normalization of deviance") to modern complexity theory the drift argument offers a new understanding for the messy details of organizational governance in complex environments. Sidney's argument is that while previous theories have been good at locating the sources of organizational failure to the dynamic processes of organizational work, they have all come down to Newtonian answers of broken parts (limits of human cognition, communication, interaction), rather than complex answers of unpredictable effects at macro level from micro-level local (and normal) interactions. The drift concept offers the theory of how organizational failure and success emerge in incubation periods not characterized by incomplete interaction, but by non-linear effects of local interactions in environments characterized by goal-conflicts, competition and uncertainties. Was that clear? If not, start listening to the lecture... well either way start listening to the lecture! Sidney will offer you some nice stories.

To listen to the talk, just click the embedded player below. Also make sure that you allow your browser to play the plugin (it may be asking you to do so right now).

The book Drift into Failure is to me the best book Sidney has ever written. Follow Amazon to have a look inside by clicking on it's picture below. Then buy it - it is a must-read!


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