Diane Vaughan

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Diane Vaughan is an American sociologist and professor at Columbia University.[1] She is known for her work on organizational and management issues, in particular in the case of the space shuttle Challenger crash.[2][3][4]

In the understanding of safety and risk, Vaughan is perhaps best known for coining the phrase “normalization of deviance”, which she has used to explain the sociological causes of the Challenger and Columbia disasters.[5][6][7] Vaughan defines this as a process where a clearly unsafe practice comes to be considered normal if it does not immediately cause a catastrophe: “a long incubation period [before a final disaster] with early warning signs that were either misinterpreted, ignored or missed completely.”[8][9]

In the study of relationships, Vaughan is known for her research into the process of relationship breakups.[10][11][12][13]

Vaughan received her Ph.D. in sociology from Ohio State University and is a laureate of the Public Understanding of Sociology Award, of the American Sociological Organization.[14]


  • Controlling Unlawful Organizational Behavior (1983).
  • Uncoupling. Turning Points in Intimate Relationships (1986), Oxford University Press.
  • The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture and Deviance at NASA (1996), Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Diane Vaughan | Department of Sociology". sociology.columbia.edu. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  2. ^ Villeret, Bertrand. "Interview Diane Vaughan". www.consultingnewsline.com. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  3. ^ Campbell-Dollaghan, Kelsey. "How an Organizational Breakdown at NASA Let the Challenger Lift Off". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  4. ^ Haberman, Clyde. "Challenger, Columbia and the Nature of Calamity". New York Times. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  5. ^ McGuire, Kristi. "The Normalization of Deviance". The Chicago Blog. University of Chicago. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  6. ^ Wilcutt, Terry; Bell, Hal. "The Cost of Silence: Normalization of Deviance and Groupthink" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  7. ^ Howe, Sandra. "Risky Decisions: Sociologist says NASA's culture led to Challenger disaster". BC Chronicle. Boston College. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  8. ^ Banja, John (March 2010). "The normalization of deviance in healthcare delivery". Business Horizons. 53 (2): 139–148. doi:10.1016/j.bushor.2009.10.006. PMC 2821100.
  9. ^ Diane Vaughan (4 January 2016). The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA, Enlarged Edition. University of Chicago Press. pp. 30–1. ISBN 978-0-226-34696-0.
  10. ^ Collins, Glen. "Drifting apart: a look at how relationships end". New York Times. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  11. ^ Wilhelm, Maria. "Headed for a Painful Breakup? Sociologist Diane Vaughan Discusses the Warning Signs". People. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  12. ^ Streitfeld, David. "Uncoupling: When A Pair Becomes Two". Washington Post. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  13. ^ Carbino, Jess. "Defining the Breakup and Consciously Uncoupling: Paltrow and Martin". Huffington Post. Retrieved 4 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Diane Vaughan Award Statement". American Sociological Association. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2017-09-01.

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