Organization at the Limit: Lessons from the Columbia Disaster

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William Starbuck, Moshe Farjoun
John Wiley & Sons, Feb 9, 2009 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
The book offers important insight relevant to Corporate, Government and Global organizations management in general. The internationally recognised authors tackle vital issues in decision making, how organizational risk is managed, how can technological and organizational complexities interact, what are the impediments for effective learning and how large, medium, and small organizations can, and in fact must, increase their resilience. Managers, organizational consultants, expert professionals, and training specialists; particularly those in high risk organizations, may find the issues covered in the book relevant to their daily work and a potential catalyst for thought and action.
  • A timely analysis of the Columbia disaster and the organizational lessons that can be learned from it.
  • Includes contributions from those involved in the Investigation Board report into the incident.
  • Tackles vital issues such as the role of time pressures and goal conflict in decision making, and the impediments for effective learning.
  • Examines how organizational risk is managed and how technological and organizational complexities interact.
  • Assesses how large, medium, and small organizations can, and in fact must, increase their resilience.
  • Questions our eagerness to embrace new technologies, yet reluctance to accept the risks of innovation.
  • Offers a step by step understanding of the complex factors that led to disaster.
 

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Contents

ORGANIZATIONAL ASPECTS OF THE COLUMBIA DISASTER
3
NASA THE CAIB REPORT AND THE COLUMBIA DISASTER
11
Part II THE CONTEXT OF THE DISASTER
19
2 HISTORY AND POLICY AT THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM
21
ON SLIPPERY SLOPES REPEATING NEGATIVE PATTERNS AND LEARNING FROM MISTAKE?
41
REVISITING THE SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAMS RECENT HISTORY
60
A RELATIONAL ANALYSIS OF THE FAILURE OF STS107
81
Part III INFLUENCES ON DECISIONMAKING
99
ONE NASA TWO MODES
202
ORGANIZATIONAL LEARNING FOLLOWING AMBIGUOUS THREATS
220
LESSONS FROM THE SPACE SHUTTLE COLUMBIA
246
Part V BEYOND EXPLANATION
267
NASA AND THE SPACE SHUTTLE DISASTERS
269
LESSONS FOR ENHANCING RESILIENCE FROM COLUMBIA
289
16 MAKING NASA MORE EFFECTIVE
309
17 OBSERVATIONS ON THE COLUMBIA ACCIDENT
336

LANGUAGE AND THE CULTURE OF SAFETY IN NASAS SPACE SHUTTLE PROGRAM
101
WHEN RIGID AMBITIOUS DEADLINES DONT MAKE SENSE
122
8 ATTENTION TO PRODUCTION SCHEDULE AND SAFETY AS DETERMINANTS OF RISKTAKING IN NASAS DECISION TO LAUNCH TH...
140
Part IV THE IMAGING DEBATE
157
MINDFUL ORGANIZING IN MISSION STS107
159
STRUCTURALLY INDUCED INACTION
178
Part VI CONCLUSION
347
18 LESSONS FROM THE COLUMBIA DISASTER
349
Index of Citations
364
Subject Index
370
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

William H. Starbuck is ITT Professor of Creative Management in the Stern School of Business at New York University. He has been the editor of Administrative Science Quarterly and chaired the screening committee for senior Fulbright awards in business management; he was the President of the Academy of Management, and he is a Fellow in the Academy of Management, American Psychological Association, American Psychological Society, British Academy of Management, and Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He has published more than 120 articles on accounting, bargaining, business strategy, computer programming, computer simulation, forecasting, decision-making, human--computer interaction, learning, organizational design, organizational growth and development, perception, scientific methods, and social revolutions.


Moshe Farjoun is an associate professor at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Toronto. His research interests lie in the intersection of strategic management and organization. His research has explored market and organizational dynamics, particularly as they pertain to the processes of strategy formulation, implementation and change. His articles have appeared in Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, Organization Science, and Academy of Management Review.

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