Criticality of data quality as exemplified in two disasters

Craig W. Fisher, Bruce R. Kingma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

204 Scopus citations


The explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the shooting down of an Iranian Airbus by the USS Vincennes were the result of two serious consumer software and management errors. Both disasters have been reviewed in detail in the literature, providing a variety of plausible explanations for the cause of the disasters. However, our review sheds new light on the problem. Disasters such as these certainly involve many factors and we do not claim to be purporting a new single factor theory. But we show that there were visible data-quality problems in the systems. After discussing the importance of data quality, we point to the specific problems in these two cases. It is believed that management, especially in a world so dependent upon information, should pursue an aggressive plan of treating information as a critical product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalInformation and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Challenger
  • Data quality
  • Information
  • Vincennes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


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