No theory forbids me to say "Ah!" or "Ugh!", but it forbids me the bogus theorization of my "Ah!" and "Ugh!" - the value judgments. - Theodor Julius Geiger (1960)

Transitioning From a Reductionistic to a Systemic Approach

Transitioning from a reductionist approach like behavior-based safety (BBS) to a more holistic/systemic approach like resilience engineering faces many difficulties. Just for fun, I compared it to Herbert Spencer's classic (1873) difficulties to the - then new - study of sociology. Here are the challenges in a transition from a reductionist to a systemic approach:

Objective Difficulties
- Evidence collection hurdles due to subjective incident reporting, witness reliability, and selective incident attention.
 - Safety's complexity demands meticulous observation for insights, emphasizing process improvement and capacity building.

Subjective Challenges
- Subjective interpretations in incident analysis lead to biased "cause" identification.
- Interpreting safety-related behavior involves inherent biases, impacting analysis of “unsafe acts”.

Emotional and Intellectual Biases
- Emotional biases shape safety judgments, leading to misplaced blame.
 - Intellectual biases hinder embracing new safety methodologies like resilience engineering.

Resistance to Change
- Prevailing safety mindsets resist embracing new approaches challenging established practices.
- Strong beliefs in one approach hinder acceptance of different methodologies.

Limited Influence
- Despite safety forums, new approaches' influence remains restricted due to ingrained beliefs.
- Resistance affects understanding safety in complex systems.

Necessity for Compromise
- Transition requires adjusting beliefs while maintaining safety management continuity.
- Balancing old principles with newer concepts is crucial for gradual improvement.

Conflicts in Thought and Action
- Contradictions exist between individual-focused safety (BBS) and system robustness (resilience engineering).
- Transitional stages involve conflicts in safety policies until new practices establish.

Imperfections in Transition
- Adopting resilience engineering might initially lead to safety structure imperfections.
 - Transitional safety measures might fulfill current needs imperfectly.

Balance in Progress
- Safety science progresses towards resilience while preserving established practices, nurturing evolving organizational cultures.

Below is a table I made reading Spencer's 'The Study of Sociology' from 1873 (