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The controversy over genetically modified organisms in the UK came to a head with the publication of three official reports in May 1999. A review of the three reports…
The controversy over genetically modified organisms in the UK came to a head with the publication of three official reports in May 1999. A review of the three reports leads to the suggestion that the controversy is exacerbated in part by the conflation of three sets of issues: the underlying uncertainty of the physical processes involved, the nature of scientific investigation and the social context surrounding scientific research. This has implications for the nature of scientific research, and the relationship between research and policy.
To draw attention to a philosophical vacuum underlying the current emphasis on risk assessment.
Definitions of chance, probability and risk are drawn from the literature and the development of risk assessment is surveyed historically. A critique of the philosophical basis of risk assessment is outlined.
The paper argues that emphasis on numerical risk assessment disguises the underlying complexity and uncertainty of modern life and leads to a false sense of control. This has implications for the assignment of responsibility and accountability when unintended consequences arise.
The paper raises questions concerning the meaning of “risk” and “uncertainty”, and asks whether “risks” can truly be assessed and managed in a meaningful way. It is intended to provoke thought and debate, and should be of interest to policy makers, academics, business professionals and a general readership.
In the report of the Interdepartmental Committee on Meat Inspection of 1950, it was recommended that suitable candidates from the butchery trade should be enabled to qualify as meat inspectors and now the Authorised Officers (Meat Inspection) Regulations, 1960, give effect to this recommendation. The training and examination of candidates for these new posts will be under the auspices of the Royal Society of Health and a syllabus has been drafted comparable to that of the Meat and Other Foods Inspector's examination, but in meat only. Holders of the certificate will qualify for appointments as “authorised officers” under the Food & Drugs Act, 1955, with powers of inspection and seizure, but, again, in meat only. Appointments will be made by local authorities and the new inspectors will be integrated with the existing local authority meat inspection service and work under appropriate direction, although the circular of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food accompanying the regulations carries the suggestion that local authorities might permit individuals appointed to discharge the full duties of a meat inspector without “continuous supervision.”
The paper attempts to provide an outline account of the development and context of scientific and technical communication during the twentieth century. The main channels and forms of communication are reviewed, and their changing contributions to the overall pattern of information flow. The ever‐increasing volume and diversity of scientific and technical information are emphasised. The paper concludes with some reflections on what may be learnt from this history.
School leaders are professionals who need professional help to enable them better to cope with the ever‐changing challenges characteristic to their daily routine. Yet, in…
School leaders are professionals who need professional help to enable them better to cope with the ever‐changing challenges characteristic to their daily routine. Yet, in considering their hierarchical position in schools, they may be reluctant to ask for professional assistance even when help is available and needed, attempting to maintain their power and firm image. The purpose of this study, therefore, is to explore how school leaders cope with this assumed dilemma.
In‐depth open interviews were conducted with Israeli school principals. These interviews were structured around a set of key issues that the literature identified as being related to help‐seeking behavior.
Data indicate principals' loneliness on the job and need for professional help. Yet it appears that the threat implied in exposing one's weaknesses, lack of reliable sources of help within the formal system, personal inhibitions and fears of damaging self‐image and losing capacity to influence are barriers undermining their inclination to formally seek help. Therefore, they prefer to informally ask the assistance of lay individuals, but even then adopt various strategies such as avoidance, buffering and differentiation, attempting to prevent the assumed negative consequences associated with help‐seeking behaviors.
Theoretically, it is possible to conclude that those who are most in need due to their hierarchical position and role complexity are least likely to become involved in help‐seeking behaviors. Creating an organizational culture that will encourage school principals to ask for help and establishing a discreet channel within the formal system that will provide professional advice are further discussed.