Keywords: technological failure, socio-technical
Chapter 2 - the nature of technological failure
The two pivotal concepts, "technology" and "technological failure", seem to be, on the face of it, self-evident. In reality, however, they are anything but self-evident. For one thing, standard definitions of technology are of limited value because they are not operational. What is needed is an operational definition of technology for design engineering. This is because many technological failures are due to the failure of design engineers to build-in adequate negative feedback mechanisms that incorporate sub- as well as supra-system components. Our task in this chapter is to formulate a definition of technology, and with it technological failure. This will be accomplished by developing a "socio-technical" approach to technological failure.