Air Disasters as Organizational Errors: the Linate Air Disaster – University of Copenhagen

Air Disasters as Organizational Errors: the Linate Air Disaster

Linate Air Disaster


The aim of this seminar is to analyze the Linate air disaster (Milan, Italy), in which two airplanes collided, causing 118 deaths.

The cause of the accident was a human error: the pilots of a small airplane (a Cessna) took the wrong taxiway, and crossed the runway while a SAS Boeing (a MD-87) was taking off. However, this disaster was not caused by human error alone.

A close analysis of this disaster reveals multiple latent failures in communication, coordination, technologies, and management. More generally, in this talk, a multilevel organizational model to understand incidents and accidents will be presented. The multilevel model highlights the different levels of failure that provoked the disaster: individual, organizational, and inter-organizational.

Finally, two different logics of inquiry that are commonly used in accidents analysis (i.e., blame culture vs just culture), and their side-effects, will be discussed.


Maurizio Catino, Universita’ Degli Studi Di Milano

Maurizio Catino is Ass. Prof. of Sociology of Organizations in the Department of Sociology and Social Research at the University of Milan–Bicocca, Italy, and Visiting Scholar in the Department of Sociology at New York University. His research interests include the dark side of organizations, human error and organizational accidents, and the different logics in accidents analysis. He has served as policy advisor for various institutions, including the Italian Parliamentary Commission on Medical Errors, and the Italian Air Force.