ABSTRACT

Many inquiry reports blame managers for the failures of foresight. These reports are founded on the premise that, with a little more thought, these oversights which enabled the crisis to occur, would have been avoided. Is it really that simple? These inquiry reports then go on to offer recommendations that, in hindsight, may have prevented the events from occurring, but may also be the genesis of the next crisis. In many cases these recommendations have failed to avoid the reverse fallacy. I have described the reverse fallacy in more detail elsewhere.1 For the purpose of this book, it is sufficient to define the reverse fallacy as an action or omission that is seen as being significant in the context of one particular tragedy, but then leads to a recommendation that is not universally appropriate. This may then result in unintended consequences at some point in the future. Such recommendations are just another type of failure of foresight.