Organizations and modern techlogy give us much of what we value, but they have also given us Cherbyl, Three Mile Island, and Bhopal. The question at the heart of this paradox is What is acceptable risk? Based on his examination of the 1981 contamination of an office building in Binghamton, New York, Lee Clarke's compelling study argues that organizational processes are the key to understanding how some risks rather than others are defined as acceptable. He finds a pattern of decision-making based on relationships among organizations rather than the authority of individuals or single agencies.
Lee Clarke is Assistant Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University.