It’s true that there were many factors involved, there were many decisions made which could have changed the outcome had they been made differently.
But that overlooks the fact that not all the decision made are of a similar nature.
With one exception, all the critical decisions were driven by costs, the ruling that changing to RO/CON was not a major conversion was cost driven as was the raising of the load line, the neglect of maintenance, the fact that the company had no operation department, no evaluation of risk, no ability to vet the captains and so forth, each decision based on cost vs risk.
The single exception to the rule that all the decisions were cost based is the one decision to navigate the ship into the so-called dangerous side of the eye wall of Joaquin. There was no upside here, nothing except unacceptable risk, no possible cost or schedule gains to be made. It was a blunder.
This weather routing error was the error of a single person, the captain, and it was based on his failure to correctly comprehend information that was readily available on the ship at the time.
This information however was understood by other crew members. This was absolutely a glaring failure of the captain to properly manage the bridge team.
This is from Bowditch: Managing the Bridge Team
Most transportation accidents are caused by human error, usually resulting from a combination of circumstances, and almost always involving a communications failure. Analysis of numerous accidents across a broad range of transportation fields reveals certain facts about human behavior in a dynamic team environment:
Better decisions result from input by many individuals
Success or failure of a team depends on their ability to communicate and cooperate
More ideas present more opportunities for success and simultaneously limit failure
Effective teams can share workloads and reduce stress, thus reducing stress-caused errors
All members make mistakes; no one has all the right answers
Effective teams usually catch mistakes before they happen, or soon after, and correct them
These facts argue for a more inclusive and less hierarchical approach to bridge team management than has been traditionally followed. The captain/navigator should include input from bridge team members when constructing the passage plan and during the pre-voyage conference, and should share his views openly when making decisions, especially during stressful situations. He should look for opportunities to instruct less experienced team members by involving them in debate and decisions regarding the voyage. This ensures that all team members know what is expected and share the same mental model of the transit
This thread is not about the loss of the El Faro, instead it is about the failure of schools that are conducing leadership / management and BRM classes. What they are teaching is not based on "certain facts about human behavior in a dynamic team environment" but instead the classes are just a reinforcement of the status quo.
That needs to change, it’s past time for the maritime industry including the schools to acknowledge “certain facts about human behavior”.