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Challenger Disaster Essay

2213 words - 9 pages


"The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster" or the 25th mission of NASA's shuttle program on January 28,1986, resulted on explosion just 73 seconds after the shuttle took off which caused the death of 7 crew members, is considered a tragedy disaster rather than a mere accident because an accident could be avoided, as former Morton Thiokol seal expert Roger Boisjoly declared " We could have stopped it .We had initially stopped it. And then the decision was made to go forward anyways"

(Sources " A major malfunction" the story behind the Space Shuttle challenger disaster. Volume 1, the research case by Mark Maier, Ph. D. The state university of NY at Binghamton)

Studying this case is a good example of Organizational Behaviour because we can see how the organizational culture at NASA contributed to the disaster, many unethical events that took place, aggressive and bureaucratic leadership that caused the disaster.

The disaster of the shuttle was both due to technical and organizational failure, technical failure the rubber O-ring seals in the booster rocket failed to seal safely because of the freezing temperature before the lift-off, also the flawed decision -making that encourage the launch and caused the death of 7 crew members.

1-How did the organizational culture at NASA contribute to the disaster?

Organization's Culture is the basic pattern of shared assumptions, values and beliefs considered to be correct way of thinking about a problem. ( Mcshane Chp.16,pg456)

An organization's culture is one of three factors that can affect ethics on the organization, besides leadership and personal commitment to ethics. For that there is a strong relation between ethics and leadership, and in this case of shuttle's disaster NASA followed " a gendered cultured" (Mcshane's book pg 464) that supports an unethical decision to launch the shuttle and ignore all other facts.

Sometimes organizational culture applies excessive control over employees as the investigator Macolm Mcconnell reveals the fact that, the Marshall Space Flight centre was run like a federal kingdom and Dr.William Lucas - the centre director - was its supreme ruler.
The organization's culture at NASA was to" keep the schedule and the plan no matter what", their plan was to launch 60 space journey per year no matter any other thing, and this explain the decision that was made about the shuttle " To go no matter what", NASA decided to launch the shuttle although the problems of temperature and the gas leaking, they took the risk of the mission `s failure and gamble by the life of 7 crew members in order to keep the plan.
Also, the sentence said by Thiokol Senior VP, Jerry mason to Bob Lund, the VP of engineering " Take off your engineering hat and put on your Management hat" when Lund sent a memo to Thiokol VP describing the problems but because Thiokol wants to keep the contract with NASA, the memo was kept as company private and never reached NASA shows...

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