Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Positive and negative risk cultures

Risk Savvy

While reading The Guardian I find out that Nudge theories could fall from the mainstream.:
Though nudge-economics remains seductive, what once seemed like a panacea has come to look a bit more like a series of sticking plasters. Earlier this year the nudge unit was removed from direct government control, partly sold to the Nesta innovation charity run by New Labour guru Geoff Mulgan, a move which seemed to suggest the prime minister no longer viewed it as quite so central to his philosophy. That move has coincided with a backlash, or at least a critical analysis, of some of the tenets on which its brand of behavioural economics is based.
You already know from this blog I have devoted many posts to it. And I've said many times that its application is still in its beginings. However, if you look at the new book by Gerd Gigerenzer "Risk Savvy", maybe the perspective could be otherwise. He examines Kahneman works and gives a different view. The issue of two systems of the brain, A and B, when taking decisions is under criticism. He defends heuristics that in some sense use both when taking some difficult decisions.
His work goes beyond such criticism and it is an additional perspective on how we take decisions and the role of risk and uncertainty.
He considers that health sector is dominated by a negative risk culture, a way of doing that tries to hide errors and in such situations learning is much more difficult. On the other end of the spectrum are "positive error cultures that make error transparent, encorage good errors and learn from bad errors to create a safer environment". This is the case of commercial aviation. From his view, the use of check lists and safety measures should be boosted in many settings to improve efficiency.
Gigerenzer work is a good recommendation for summer reading. Wether he is able to convince you more than Kahneman, it's uncertain right now.

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