Finding somebody to blame can feel very comfortable

Finding somebody to blame can indeed feel comfortable - something has been done, the culprit has been found. This solves our anxiety of not knowing. But, very often it is an illusory comfort that denies the reality that we do not have full control over our technologies. “If we personify risk, we manage our anxiety about an otherwise faceless, systemic danger that could spring up and bite us any day” [James Reason]. So, finding somebody to blame is more about managing anxiety than it is about finding and resolving risks.

Sometimes failures simply happen in our complex systems, and being able to deal with this truth without wanting to apportion all the blame to somebody who happened to be present when the event occured may well be the hallmark of a just culture.