European Journal of Information Systems

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 487–491

The obituary as bricolage: the Mann Gulch disaster and the problem of heroic rationality


DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000560

Cite this article as:
Stahl, B. Eur J Inf Syst (2005) 14: 487. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ejis.3000560


This paper discusses Claudio Ciborra's critique of traditional economic rationality. It recounts his account of the Mann Gulch Disaster. The important aspect of his reading of the disaster is that apparently irrational actions may provide appropriate solutions for complex problems. He bases this observation on a phenomenology-inspired understanding of the world which emphasises Dasein's characteristic as being-in-the-world. The paper interprets this as an important contribution to the critique of rationality as put forward by critical research in information systems. However, this phenomenological approach also raises new issues due to its difficulty of dealing with intersubjective understanding and problems of self-application. The paper concludes by suggesting that such difficulties can be overcome by appropriating Ciborra's idea of bricolage and that this special issue may be read as an expression of such collective bricolage.


heroic management critical research rationality Mann Gulch disaster 

Copyright information

© Operational Research Society 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Computing and Social Responsibility, De Montfort University, The GatewayLeicesterU.K.