Between Individual and Organization: Reinterpreting the Challenger Disaster and Finding an Interface between STS and Engineering Ethics

개인과 조직 사이에서: 챌린저호 폭발사고에 대한 재해석과 STS-공학윤리의 접점 찾기

  • Sung, Han-Ah (Interdisplinary Program in History and Philosophy of Science, Seoul National University) ;
  • Hong, Sung-Ook (Department of Biological Science, Seoul National University)
  • 성한아 (서울대학교 과학사 및 과학철학 협동과정) ;
  • 홍성욱 (서울대학교 생명과학부)
  • Received : 2011.12.13
  • Accepted : 20110000
  • Published : 2012.01.31


On the grounds of Diane Vaughan's pioneering study into the Challenger Disaster, STS(Science and Technology Studies) scholars have recently argued that most engineers seldom face an ethical situation, in which the boundary between the ethical and the unethical is absolutely clear, and for which a serious moral decision such as "whistle blowing" is urgently needed. They have instead suggested that engineering ethics needs to address engineers' everyday routine practices, which, if accumulated, may have some impact upon the overall performance of the technological system. However, such studies have not completely resolved the tension between STS that emphasizes contextual elements in which the everyday practice of engineers are done, on the one hand, and engineering ethics that stresses individual engineer's moral decision of an existential kind, on the other. By discussing various works on the Challenger Disaster and related issues over technological risks, this paper attempts to establish an interface between STS and engineering ethics, and proposes some practical implications for the effective education of engineering ethics to engineering students.


  1. 김진 외(2003). 공학윤리: 기술공학시대의 윤리적 문제들. 철학과 현실사. 37-38, 163-165.
  2. 양해림 외(2006). 과학기술시대의 공학윤리. 철학과 현실사, 153-154.
  3. 조일수(2007). 공학사례 연구. 권혁길 외. 공학윤리. 인간사랑. 407-410.
  4. Allinson, R. E.(1998). The "Cog in the Machine" Manifesto: the Banality and the Inevitability of Evil, Business Ethics Quarterly 8: 743-756.
  5. Bovens, M.(1998). The Quest for Responsibility: Accountability and Citizenship in Complex Organizations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  6. Bunderson, J. Stuart(2001). Normal Injustices and Morality in Complex Organizations, Journal of Business Ethics 33: 181-190.
  7. Collins, Harry and Pinch, Trevor(1998). The Naked Launch: Assigning Blame for Challenger explosion. in The Golem at Large: What You Should Know about Technology. 30-56, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. Davis, Michael(2006). Engineering Ethics, Individuals, and Organizations, Science and Engineering Ethics. 12:. 223- 231.
  9. Dowie, Mark(1977.) Pinto madness. Mother Jones. 2: 18-32.
  10. Fleddermann, Charles B., 이광수.이재성 공역(2009). 공학 윤리 홍릉과학출판사. 7-18.
  11. Harris, Charles E. Jr., Pritchard, Michael S. and Rabins, Michael J., 김유신 역(2003). 공학윤리. 북스힐. 274-278.
  12. Johnson, Deborah G. and Wetmore, Jameson M.(2008.) Chapter 23. STS and Ethics: Implications for Engineering Ethics. in Hackett E. J. et. al. eds., The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies 3rd. Cambridge: The MIT Press. 567-582.
  13. Kline, Ronald R.(2001). Using History & Sociology: To Teach Engineering Ethics. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine. 20: 13-20.
  14. Kranakis, Eda(200_) Fixing the Blame: Organizational Culture and the Quebec Bridge Collapse. Technology and Culture 45: 487-518.
  15. Lee, Matthew T. and Ermann, M. David(1999). Pinto 'Madness' as a Flawed Landmark Narrative: An Organizational and Network Analysis. Social Problems 46: 30-47
  16. Lynch, William T. and Kline, Ronald(2000). Engineering Practice and Engineering Ethics. Science, Technology & Human Values 25: 195-225.
  17. Martin, Mike W, Schinzinger, Roland., 전영록 외 역(2009). 공학윤리. 교보문고. 149-162.
  18. Perlman, Bruce and Varma, Roli(2002). Improving Ethical Engineering Practice. IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 21: 40-47.
  19. Van de Poel, Ibo and Verbeek, Peter-Paul(2006). Ethics and Engineering Design, Science, Technology & Human Values 31: 223-236.
  20. Vaughan, Diane(1996). The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, The University of Chicago Press.
  21. Vaughan, Diane (1998). Rational Choice, Situated Action, and the Social Control of Organization. Law & Society Review 32: 23-61.
  22. Vaughan, Diane (1999a). The Role of Organization in the Production of Techno-Scientific Knowledge. Social Studies of Science 29: 913-943.
  23. Vaughan, Diane (1999b) The Dark Aide of Organizations: Mistake, Misconduct, and Disaster. Annual Review of Sociology 25: 271-305.
  24. Verbeek, P.P.C.C.(2006). Materializing Morality. Design Ethics and Technological Mediation. Science, Technology & Human Values 31: 361-380.
  25. Weick, K. E. and Roberts, K. H.(1993). Collective Mind in Organizations: Heedful Interrelating on Flight Decks Administrative Science Quarterly 38: 357-381.
  26. Weick, K. E.(1997). Book Review: The Challenger Launch Decision. Administrative Science Quarterly 42: 395-401.