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Structure, not scientists to blame for Los Alamos failings
Date:11/1/2011

But the number and quality of articles published, papers given, and experiments conducted by lab scientists was now irrelevant to the government's evaluation of managerial effectiveness. Scientists were discouraged from raising concerns, which could impact management bonuses.

Gusterson concludes that misattribution of Los Alamos's problems to a pathological organizational culture involved at least two misreadings of the situation: The actions of a rogue individual (Lee) were confused with the informal norms of an entire organization, and the organizational dysfunction at Los Alamos has been misdiagnosed as a problem of culture when it is more likely a problem of structure.

"Having survived the antinuclear protests of the 1980s and the end of the Cold War a few years later, American nuclear weapons scientists are now finding that the main threat to their craft comes from an unexpected source: politicians and administrators who are supposed to be on their side," says Gusterson. "As so often seems to be the case, well-meaning attempts to make the country more secure are having the opposite effect."


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Contact: Jayne Fairley
jayne.fairley@sagepub.co.uk
44-207-324-8719
SAGE Publications
Source:Eurekalert

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