Ron Westrum

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Ron Westrum (born September 23, 1945) is an American sociologist.


Born in Chicago in 1945, Westrum earned a B.A. (cum laude) in Social Relations in 1966 from Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Sociology in 1972 from the University of Chicago.


Ron Westrum is a recognized expert on organizational dynamics in the aviation field. He has made many presentations to international scientific groups such as NATO Advanced Research Institutes, FAA and NTSB-sponsored seminars, the World Bank seminar on Systems Safety, and the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization Regional Seminar in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, on "Organizational Dynamics."


He is the author of Complex Organizations: Growth, Struggle, and Change, (with Kamil Samaha), Prentice-Hall, 1984; Sidewinder: Creative Missile Development at China Lake. Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1999. 33l pp.; and of Technologies: The Shaping of People and Things & Society.Belmosnt, Ca.: Wadsworth Publishing,1991. 394 pp.


In April 1996, Westrum was a keynote speaker at the International Civil Aviation Organization Third Global Seminar on Flight Safety and Human Factors, Auckland, New Zealand. He spoke to the National Transportation Safety Board on "Corporate Culture and Safety" in April, 1997. Westrum gave three lectures at the Sorbonne in Paris as an invited speaker in 1999.The FDA Advisory Panel on Blood Safety and Availability and the American Association of Blood Banks, invited him to their conferences in 1999 and in 2000. In 2002-2003, Westrum served on a National Research Council panel to evaluate NASA’s program on Engineering Complex Systems.

Recent work[edit]

As of 1987,[1] he was professor of Sociology and Interdisciplinary Technology at Eastern Michigan University.

Many of his articles have been published in leading journals, and as of 1987, he was the editor of the Social Psychology of Science. His recent papers include: “The Three Cultures Model,” presentation at Symposium on Patient Safety for Improving Florida’s Medical Education, January 2004. “Increasing the Number of Guards at Nuclear Power Plants,” Risk Analysis, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2004, pp. 959–961. “Models of Bureaucratic Failure,” in Innovation and Consolidation in Aviation, (Eds., Lawrence Erlbaum, 2004)

Interested in unidentified flying object reports,[2] Westrum was a MUFON consultant.

Westrum is said to be a frequent critic of CSICOP and other skeptical organizations.[3]


He was the Scientist Guest of Honor at ConFusion XXX (January 23–25, 2004).


  1. ^ UFOs, 1947 - 1987: The 40-Year Search for an Explanation; London: Fortean Times, 1987, ISBN 1-870021-02-9
  2. ^ "Limited Access: Six Natural Scientists and the UFO Phenomenon," in David M. Jacobs, Editor, UFOs and Abductions (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 2000)
  3. ^