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Unformatted text preview: Group Dysfunctions: Group Dysfunctions: the Challenger case
Negative Synergy: Groupthink, Ethical Issues, Normal Accidents Schuh’s Definition of Schuh’s Definition of Communication Human interactions through which we organize our actions, relate with one another and form knowledge and beliefs about the world Human interactions are both complex and complicated Complex or Complicated? Complex or Complicated? Complex adaptive systems produce unpredictable outcomes Self organizing Ecological, holistic Greater than the sum of its parts Complicated systems are mechanical, produce predictable outcomes Cars Computers Space shuttles Normal Accident Theory Normal Accident Theory System Accidents Component Failure Accidents Complex interactions Multiple independent elements Tight couplings of elements Often unpredictable Visible, foreseeable linear interactions between interdependent parts Loose couplings of parts Domino effect Normal Accidents and Normal Accidents and Complex vs. Complicated Human communication (a complex system) is prone to system accidents Mechanical or electronic devices, software, procedures are prone to component failure accidents Who’s Who in the Zoo? NASA Managers Challenger: Challenger MortonThiokol: Managers Larry Mulloy Arnie Aldrich William Lucas Engineers Joe Kilminster Jerry Mason George Hardy Roger Boisjoly, Bob Lund, and 8 others Rockwell Conflicting Interests (?) Conflicting Interests (?) NASA managers Threats: Embarrassment, budget funding, individual job loss MortonThiokol Threats: Losing NASA contract, individual job loss Crew safety Engineering Issue Engineering Issue NASA: ostensibly, “changing launch commit criteria” Evidence: temperature didn’t explain prior missions’ Oring performance and blowby MortonThiokol and Rockwell: Uncertainty about Oring performance at low temperature Evidence: prior mission data were conflicting; static test data were not realistic and can’t be relied upon to predict realworld performance Shifting the Burden of Proof Shifting the Burden of Proof What engineers should be asked: Is it safe to launch, the only thing that could be evidencebased What they were asked: Prove it’s not safe to launch given questions about the data Impossible to conclusively prove the negative Dysfunction and Dysfunction and Problematic Interactions Choice of framing Tend to be selfreplicating Negotiating ethical challenges Constructing an environment open to change More than GIGO More than GIGO Erroneous data yield predictable errors Problematic human interactions yield unpredictable errors Implications for decision making Decision Making Decision Making Empirical attempts to rationalize and predict Can be corrupted by Choice of data Errors in defining the problem Managing by results Proposed Solutions Proposed Solutions Make ethical standards primary to corporate culture Maintain climate Reduce horizontal and vertical compartmentalization Understand that all knowledge is incomplete Trust your experts Senge: Learning Organizations A set of values An approach to best practices Minimizing effects of member rank Keeping knowledge and expertise “in motion” Triggers to Group Learning Triggers to Group Learning Pressures Opportunities Deadlines, limited resources Internal pressures Members’ capabilities, morale, personality traits, networks Openness to new ideas Readiness to learn Group Learning Group Learning Requires group skills Integrates fragmented task skills, knowledge and information Continual improvement in Interacting Detecting and correcting errors Exploiting opportunities Assessing performance and results Resources Resources
Boisjoly, R. 2006. “Telecon Meeting (Morton Thiokol and the Challenger Disaster).” Online Ethics Center for Engineering. Maier, M. 2002. “Ten years after A Major Malfunction: Reflections on ‘The Challenger Syndrome’.” Journal of Management Inquiry, 11/2, pp. 282292. Senge, P. 2006. The Fifth Discipline : The art and practice of the learning organization. New York: Doubleday/Currency. ...
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- Spring '06