The Essex: Risks And Leadership Essay

2124 words - 8 pages

The greatest risk In the HEART of the SEA The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex was the owners giving George Pollard Jr. the commission of captain. Risk is a measurement of exposure of danger in a situation. Risk is extremely important to understand in a project, management, investments and everyday life situations. As individuals risk can be a choice, such as riding a bike into oncoming traffic or we can be exposed to risk without even knowing, such as the chemical company illegally dumping waste into your drinking water. Understanding risk is an important concept for one to achieve their goals. If one is able to identify risk, the risk itself could be eliminated or reduced for one to have a successful outcome.
The owners of the Essex must have had much success the way they managed their operations considering that the Essex was one of the oldest ships in Nantucket at the time of the final journey of the ship. This leaves little incentive for the owners to invest into the ship or the crew. Risk-taking pays but business should be down with a conscience and a paternalistic employment practices will develop, which will cement loyalty employees. (Matsushita, 1988). When the Essex left port for the last time the ship and crew had probabilities of success stacked against them. “What is bought with money or with goods is purchased by labor, as much as what we acquire by the toil of our own body. They contain the value of a certain quantity of labor which we exchange for what is supposed at the time to contain the value of and equal quantity.” (Smith, 1991). The owners essentially put little value into the captain and the crew from their actions; examples are lack of training of crew, captain and mates, the rundown resources on the ship and provisions provided. A concept that has been accepted and could have been useful for the owners is avoiding risk. Five reasons why companies fail to capitalize are the pattern of resource allocation, not solving the needs of the entities of the organization, identifying solutions in advance, and relying on core competencies and values, and the supply that does not meet market demand. (Christensen, 1997). The information about the owners of the Essex seems to have a laissez-faire type of attitude towards the captain. Many organizations have much success when a leader, Captain George Pollard Jr. in the case of the Essex is given total control of the ship, crew and resources.
First time Captain, George Pollard Jr. has earned the right to be captain of the Essex. He has displayed a strong work ethic serving as a mate aboard the Essex about three and half years out of the last four years. This work ethic exhibited loyalty to the Essex and its owners. Also, one cannot forget that Captain Pollard also was social connected and a part of the in crowd of Nantucket and the whaling industry. As a leader he is a sure thing and the right man for the job of the Essex, Right? Well, the owners did not have foresight of the events...

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