As the 2017 Academy Awards made headlines for all the wrong reasons, spare a thought for the person or people involved in the error. For one of the injustices most easily perpetrated in organisations is the disproportionately punitive response to performance failure when small missteps result in catastrophic results.

As major channels led prime time news on 27 February 2017 with reports of the mistaken announcement of ‘La La Land’ as winner of the most-coveted Best Picture award, which had in fact been won by the motion picture ‘Moonlight’, I was reminded of a report in the Medical Protection Society’s ‘Casebook’ publication, observing that the extent of medical malpractice claims made against health professionals for adverse outcomes correlates more strongly with the degree of negative consequence than with the size of the error that led to them.

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