Technology-push, market-demand and the missing safety-pull: A case study of American Airlines Flight 587

Amy L. Fraher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Through a critical case study of the crash of American Airlines Flight 587, this paper draws upon 'the Social Shaping of Technology' (SST) approach to offer a reconceptualisation of the technology-push and market-demand model for High-Reliably Organisations (HROs), providing support for a third factor, called here a 'safety-pull'. A safety-pull is defined as organisationally supported reflexivity in which technology innovators and frontline operators collaborate to consider the potential implications of adopting new technologies in HROs and the complex ways this change may impact human operators' work performance, often in risky and unanticipated ways. In contrast to accidents occurring solely as the result of individual operator error, analysing the safety-pull provides a way to tease out the wide range of factors that can contribute to HRO failures and offers a new SST perspective through which to examine high-risk operations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-127
Number of pages19
JournalNew Technology, Work and Employment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015


  • Airline pilots
  • Automation confusion
  • Clumsy technology
  • Flight simulation
  • High risk operations
  • High-reliability organisation (HRO)
  • Market demand
  • Technology failure
  • Technology push
  • The social shaping of technology (SST)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management


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