Books &
Book Chapters

How Could This Happen and Confronting Mistakes are comprehensive discussions on error management, blending the latest thinking with state-of-the-art industry practice on how organizations can learn from mistakes.

Edgar H. Schein on How Could This Happen:

“This is a very important book for the analysis of safety, quality, and employee engagement by focusing in detail on the many explanations for why individual and organizational errors occur, how they consistently create major accidents and organizational failures, and why organizations do not learn effectively from them. The multiple perspectives of the different authors provide a variety of explanations and apply these to many important cases.”

Edgar H. Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, author of “Organizational Culture and Leadership”

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe on How Could This Happen:

“Stories of error after the fact inevitably are simple and straightforward. But this conception belies what everyone knows to be true. Underneath simple, linear, obvious stories of error is a more complex reality, a sorrowful reality of actions going wrong. Errors have consequences for organizations, and they have consequences for the humans involved in them. Jan Hagen’s comprehensive volume of essays by a renowned set of scholars could not be timelier or more important for enhancing our understanding of errors and their management. This book is a blessing for scholars looking for new theoretical footholds in what some think has become a moribund domain of research inquiry. And, perhaps more importantly, it is an elemental book for leaders and others trying to manage complex organizational systems.”

Kathleen M. Sutcliffe, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Business and Medicine, Johns Hopkins University

Amy C. Edmondson on Confronting Mistakes:

Confronting Mistakes is a remarkable book. Its gripping case studies of airline disasters will keep readers on the edge of their chairs, and its penetrating analysis is deep and sophisticated. Hagen’s writing is highly accessible and engaging and will enlighten everyone from error experts to curious readers in other industries. This book is destined to be a classic in the error field.”

Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School

Tony Kern on Confronting Mistakes:

“Human behavior is a complex ecosystem, but that is no excuse to wave a white flag of surrender. Hagen has done a masterful job of capturing the salient lessons from the high risk field of aviation and made them available to the world. A tip of the hat to a fellow warrior in the battle against human error and their often tragic consequences.”

Tony Kern, CEO, Convergent Performance, former B-1B command pilot and Chair of the US Air Force Human Factors Steering Group


How could this happen Jan U. Hagen (2018)
How could this happen?
Managing errors in organizations
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Fatale Fehler Jan U. Hagen (2017)
Fatale Fehler
Oder warum Organisationen ein Fehlermanagement brauchen
2nd ed.,Heidelberg: Springer Gabler

 Confronting mistakes Jan U. Hagen (2013)
Confronting mistakes
Lessons from the aviation industry when dealing with errors
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Book chapters

Jan U. Hagen (2020)
Leader inquiry as a method for open error communication in aviation and beyond
In “Mistakes, errors and failures across cultures: Navigating potentials”, edited by Elisabeth Vanderheiden, Claude-Hélène Mayer, 587-604. Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland.

Jan U. Hagen (2018)
Crew Resource Management revisited
In “How could this happen? Managing errors in organizations,” 1st ed., edited by Jan U. Hagen, 233–251. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Jan U. Hagen (2016)
In “Lexikon Qualitätsmanagement,” 2nd ed., edited by Hans-Dieter Zollondz, Michael Ketting, Raimund Pfundtner, 315–318. Munich: De Gruyter Oldenbourg.

Jan U. Hagen (2015)
When errors occur
In “Client centricity: Relationship management in banking,” edited by Jan U. Hagen, Ulrich Schürenkrämer, 73–90. Hamburg: Murmann.