Advertisement

Accounting for Blind Spots

  • Martin Lodge
Chapter
Part of the Executive Politics and Governance book series (EXPOLGOV)

Abstract

Public and private organizations are regularly criticized for being blindsided. Lodge explores what explains the existence of blind spots, and how blind spots differ from other kinds of phenomena that have been associated with unintended consequences. By defining the blind spot as ‘not seeing the not seeing’, the chapter highlights the centrality of the blind spot to organizational life. The chapter develops its argument by first distinguishing the blind spot from other types of unintended consequences, pointing to varieties of ways in which blind spots emerge, before discussing recipes to mitigate the effects of blind spots. Lodge argues that blind spots are intrinsic in any form of organizing and that therefore all organizational life is inherently shaped by blind spots.

Keywords

Blind spot Unintended consequences Limits of administration’ Executive government 

References

  1. 6, P., & Swedlow, B. (2016). An institutional theory of cultural biases, public administration and public policy. Public Administration, 94(4), 867–880.Google Scholar
  2. BBC News. (1999, October 19). Ward known as ‘departure lounge’. BBC News. Retrieved from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/background_briefings/the_bristol_heart_babies/478560.stm
  3. Bevan, G., & Hood, C. (2006). What’s measured is what matters: Targets and gaming in the English public health care system. Public Administration, 84(3), 517–538.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Black, D. J. (1976). The behavior of law. New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  5. Campbell, D. (2013, February 3). Mid Staffs hospital scandal: The essential guide. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/06/mid-staffs-hospital-scandal-guide
  6. Carpenter, D. P. (2010). Reputation and power: Organizational image and pharmaceutical regulation at the FDA. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Connor, S. (2016, October 30). First self-driving cars will be unmarked so that other drivers don’t try to bully them. The Guardian. Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/oct/30/volvo-self-driving-car-autonomous
  8. Department of Health (UK). (2012). Poly implant prothèse (PIP) silicone breast implants: Review of the actions of the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency (MHRA) and department of health. London: Department of Health.Google Scholar
  9. ’t Hart, P. (2013). After Fukushima: Reflections on risk and institutional learning in an era of mega-crises. Public Administration, 91(1), 101–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. ’t Hart, P., Rosenthal, U., & Kouzmin, A. (1993). Crisis decision making: The centralization thesis revealed. Administration & Society, 25(1), 12–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hood, C. (1974). Administrative diseases: Some types of dysfunctionality in administration. Public Administration, 52(4), 439–454.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hood, C. (1976). Limits of administration. London: Wiley.Google Scholar
  13. Hood, C. (1983). Tools of government. Basingstoke: Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hood, C. (1998). Art of the state. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Hood, C., Rothstein, H., & Baldwin, R. (2001). The government of risk. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jennings, W., Lodge, M., & Ryan, M. (2018). Comparing blunders in government. European Journal of Political Research, 57(1), 238–258.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Lodge, M., & Wegrich, K. (2012). Executive politics and policy instruments. In M. Lodge & K. Wegrich (Eds.), Executive politics in times of crisis (pp. 118–135). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lodge, M., Wegrich, K., & McElroy, G. (2010). Dodgy kebabs everywhere? Variety of worldviews and regulatory change. Public Administration, 88(1), 247–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ma, L. (2016). Performance feedback, government goal-setting and aspiration level adaptation: Evidence from Chinese provinces. Public Administration, 94(2), 452–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ma, L. (2017). Performance management and citizen satisfaction with the government: Evidence from Chinese municipalities. Public Administration, 95(1), 39–59.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Marinetto, M. (2011). A Lipskian analysis of child protection failures from Victoria Climbié to ‘Baby P’: A street-level re-evaluation of joined-up governance. Public Administration, 89(3), 1164–1181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. McBarnet, D., & Whelan, C. (1991). The elusive spirit of the law: Formalism and the struggle for legal control. Modern Law Review, 54(6), 848–873.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Merton, R. K. (1936). The unintended consequences of purposive social action. American Sociological Review, 1(6), 894–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Merton, R. K. (1948). The self-fulfilling prophecy. Antioch Review, 8(2), 193–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. (2004). The 9/11 Commission Report: Final report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  26. Otto, B. K. (2001). Fools are everywhere: The court jester around the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. Parker, C. F., & Stern, E. K. (2002). Blindsided? September 11 and the origins of strategic surprise. Political Psychology, 23(3), 601–630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Thompson, M., Ellis, R., & Wildavsky, A. (1990). Cultural theory. Boulder: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  29. Vaughan, D. (2005). Organizational rituals of risk and error. In B. Hutter & M. Power (Eds.), Organizational encounters with risk (pp. 33–66). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Verweij, M. (2014). Wicked problems, clumsy solutions, and messy institutions in transnational governance. In M. Lodge & K. Wegrich (Eds.), The problem-solving capacity of the modern state (pp. 183–197). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Weick, K. E., & Roberts, K. H. (1993). Collective mind in organizations: Heedful interrelating on flight decks. Administrative Science Quarterly, 38(3), 357–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Wilson, J. Q. (1989). Bureaucracy: What government agencies do and why they do it. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation, London School of Economics and Political ScienceLondonUK

Personalised recommendations