Charles Perrow

Charles Perrow's picture
Professor Emeritus of Sociology


Charles Perrow (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1960) is a past Vice President of the Eastern Sociological Society; a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavorial Sciences (1981-2, 1999); Fellow of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science; Resident Scholar, Russell Sage Foundation, 1990-91; Fellow, Shelly Cullom Davis Center for Historical Studies, 1995-96; Princeton University; Visitor, Institute for Advanced Studies, 1995-96, Princeton NJ; former member of the Committee on Human Factors, National Academy of Sciences, of the Sociology Panel of the National Science Foundation, and of the editorial boards of several journals. An organizational theorist, he is the author of six books, including: The Radical Attack on Business (1972), Organizational Analysis: A Sociological View (1970), Complex Organizations: A Critical Essay (1972; 3rd ed., 1986), award winning Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technologies (1984; revised, 1999), award winning The AIDS Disaster: The Failure of Organizations in New York and the Nation (1990) with Mauro Guillen, award winning Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of American Capitalism (2002) and over 50 articles. His interests include the development of bureaucracy in the 19th Century; the radical movements of the 1960s; Marxian theories of industrialization and of contemporary crises; accidents in such high risk systems as nuclear plants, air transport, DNA research and chemical plants; protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure; the prospects for democratic work organizations; and the origins of U.S. capitalism.

Selected Publications



  • Charles Perrow (2010). “Organizations and Global Warming,” Constance Lever-Tracy, ed., Routledge Handbook of Climate Change and Society. 2010, New York: Routledge. 59-77
  • Charles Perrow (2010). The Meltdown Was Not an Accident, in Michael Lounsbury, Paul M. Hirsch (ed.) Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Volume 30), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp.309-330

Articles and Papers