StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

Organizational error that caused the failure of the space shuttle Challenger launch - Essay Example

Not dowloaded yet

Extract of sample
Organizational error that caused the failure of the space shuttle Challenger launch

She finds this causal explanation to be the key in repetition of the same accident over a period of time.
Similar story happened at NASA in the catastrophic failure of Challenger Shuttle. NASA was cognizant that the launch conditions were not right but assumed that as nothing has happened in the last 25 flights, nothing will happen. The crucial gut instincts of engineers were ignored by the decision makers, the engineers could not voice their gut instincts strongly due to lack of sufficient data in an organization whose ethos required substantial data to justify something.
The successive commissions fell into the same trap, reconstructing the events that led to the catastrophe in great detail. They gave too much emphasis on technicalities and highlighted the crucial decisions which went wrong and made individuals accountable and gave the system a quick fix. Vaughan took the different approach and rather than blaming the individuals primarily, blamed the organization.
To reach a conclusion she based her judgment on her already developed theory of normalization of deviance in organizational cultures. Keeping the model in front where she situates individual actions and tries to find their meaning in the culture of organization, she was able to ask the right questions and find those hidden clues which the previous commissions failed to observe. One reason why she was able to find something which remained hidden from the previous commissions is because she looked for them in the first place.
Vaughan argues that NASA managers did not break any rules unlike reported before rather abided by them a bit too strictly. She has pointed out that rather it were the rules that kept on getting more and more accommodative each time a mission was accomplished successfully. Thus rules expanded like a rubber band, enclosing more and more dangers which previously turned out to be false assumptions. It was NASA's culture where something which has worked once was assumed to work every time. O-ring seals were not a new problem but the previous successful launches prepared the managers' mind that it is an acceptable risk. She argues that rather than developing new paradigms for unexpected consequences, people change the paradigms to accommodate the consequence or discard them at all. According to her, the same happened in the case of O-ring erosion where the risk level was reduced as the risk did not turn out to be as grave as previously thought. However the reduction in gravity did not mean that the risk cannot become grave once coupled with some other risks. The O-ring erosion, sub-optimal temperatures & unexpected wind shears, all risks were expected to be less than grave, in the original paradigms but people failed to develop new paradigm for the combination. She has agreed that Challenger's Disaster was a normal accident (p. 415) & normal accident always happen because of failure to develop new paradigms in extremely complex organization. She acknowledges that NASA is a High Reliability Organization (p. 418) but points out at the same time ...Show more

Summary

Normal organizational tendency in case of a disaster is straight forward. Fire the key decision makers, put some money into knowing what went wrong, and redefine the definitions & rules. Life goes back to normal. The same cycle then starts again, people tend to make erroneous judgment not because they are personally inclined to do so, but more often than that, organizational ethos and priorities drift their decisions in the wrong direction…
Author : cartwrightderri
Organizational error that caused the failure of the space shuttle Challenger launch essay example
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"Organizational error that caused the failure of the space shuttle Challenger launch"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Related Essays

The Challenger Disaster : a failure of Engineering Managers
The teacher, Sharon Christa McAuliffe, was chosen to be on the shuttle as a result of President Ronald Reagan’s ‘Teacher in Space Project’, a project to attract people to the space programs in the United States of America, which would result in the first citizen to go into space.
7 pages (1750 words) Essay
Organizational Innovation and Change - Critical Thinking Mod 8 - The Challenger and Columbia Shuttle Disasters
Organizational innovations involve a creative and an open organizational culture where individual workers are encouraged to think creatively and think of new ideas and approaches for efficient results. It also involves risk taking on part of the employees as well as well cross functional teams to motivate the employees.
3 pages (750 words) Essay
The Last Flight of Space Shuttle Challenger
The Space Shuttle Challenger, Mission 51-L, took off at the Kennedy Space Center, on that fateful day, Tuesday, the 28th January, 1986, from pad 396 at approximately at 11:38 Eastern Standard time (EST) Investigations carried out showed that even though the flight had been delayed and postponed four times for several hours, yet it was green- signaled by NASA to take off.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster
The disaster, whether seen in actual time twenty-one years ago or recalled in a story, and the fact that that the tragedy happened in such a public manner, witnessed by millions - doesn't take much for every human being to absorb in a way that brings us to tears.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Space Shuttle
But the shuttles without power are more likely to land like a glide on runways. Unlike other rockets which can place heavy payloads into space only once, these space shuttles are designed to be used 100 times. So in 1969 the Space Task Group was formed by President Richard M.
15 pages (3750 words) Essay
Organizational error that caused the failure of the space shuttle Challenger launch
“It was not amorally calculating managers violating rules that were responsible for the tragedy. It was conformity”. (p 386) Normal organizational tendency in case of a disaster is straight forward. Fire the key decision makers, put some money into knowing what went wrong, and redefine the definitions & rules
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Organizational Innovation and Change - Critical Thinking Mod 8 - The Challenger and Columbia Shuttle Disasters
It also involves risk taking on part of the employees as well as well cross functional teams to motivate the employees. This organizational change would lead to innovation only if it is supported by all levels
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Critical Perspectives on Management and Organisations
The Challenger Space Shuttle disaster occurred in January 1986 and had caused the death of seven crew members. Since occurrence of the incident, there have been wide debates to pinpoint causes of the
12 pages (3000 words) Essay
Discuss to what extent the role of Groupthink in the Challenger Space Shuttle was critical to the incident and suggest ways in which the situation might have been avoided
The decision-making process is critical for the quality of decisions reached and it is a process that is affected by many different factors. Various decision theories and models have been developed in order to try and
12 pages (3000 words) Essay
Space shuttle columbia failure
The space shuttle Columbia was the first orbiter constructed with the ability to fly, and it weighed approximately 3,600 kilograms (NASA, n.p.).
3 pages (750 words) Essay
Get a custom paper written
by a pro under your requirements!
Win a special DISCOUNT!
Put in your e-mail and click the button with your lucky finger
Your email
YOUR PRIZE:
Apply my DISCOUNT
Comments (0)
Rate this paper:
Thank you! Your comment has been sent and will be posted after moderation