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Mount Everest 1996

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Benedetta Perego

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of Mount Everest 1996

Mount Everest 1996
Luca Corti
Marianna Croci
Marco Fraccaro
Alessandro Gasperi
Benedetta Perego
Andrea Ragogna

The background
The Groups
The team

Mount Everest 8,850 meters above sea level
1953 first successful expedition by Hillary and Norgary
In the 80's commercial expeditions started
Until 1996: 846 successful ascents and 148 deaths
The Expedition
Adventure Consultants
Mountain Madness
Over confidence & underestimation of risks
Lack of experience
& physical skills
Escalation of commitment
Path Dependence
Lack of planning &
Lack of communication

What should they've done?
"With enough determination any bloody idiot can get up this hill." (Hall, LEADER)

"Experience is overrated. It's not the altitude that's important, it's your attitude." (Fischer, LEADER)

“I think the biggest obstacle is probably taking time off your job and leaving your family for two months.” (Weathers, CLIENT)

"When it came the time for each of us to assess our own abilities...it seemed as thought half the population of the Base Camp was clinically delusional"
(Krakauer, CLIENT)

Leaders acknowledged that several clients didn’t have high altitude climbing experience

During the expedition several members felt ill, but they didn't give up

Leadership style doesn't matche situational control.

Charismatic leadership is employed in a transactional way that doesn't evaluate possible future changes.

High distance of power: people were unwilling to tell their opinions and always followed the initial instructions given to them.

"We had been specifically indoctrinated not to question our guides judgment” (Krakauer, CLIENT)

Tendency to stick to an ineffective course of action when it is unlikely that the bad situation can be reserved.

Huge initial investment (60,000 $)
Because of the physical suffering they need to achieve the result
Personal relations affected by past failures influenced the decision making process
Desire of fame (advertising through the clients)

"If a client sees that the summit is close and they are dead set on getting there, they are going to laugh in your face and keep going up.”
(Cutter, expert climber).

Explains how the set of decisions one faces for any given circumstance is limited by the decisions one has made in the past, even though past circumstances may no longer be relevant.

Take for granted various steps and best practices
Several past experiences played a role in planning future decisions
Excessive relief on weather timing used in the past 5 years
General sense of false perception: several season of good weather have led people to think of Everest as benevolent

Conflict with Sherpas about increasing wage.
The ropes weren't affixed on time
Too many climbers in queue for ascending
Inadequate equipment: oxygen supply related problems, few and old radios
Inefficiency of supplies: lack of bottled oxygen and high altitude tents

Group dynamics
There was no trust between the peers, diffidence

"I attributed my growing unease to the fact that I'd never climbed as a member of such a large group, a group of complete strangers" (Krakauer, CLIENT)

“But the trust in one’s partner is a luxury denied to those who signed on as clients on a Everest ascent”. (Boukreev, GUIDE)

Communication distortion: oxygen misunderstanding

Non assertive communication style: timid and self-denying behavior of Beidleman (guide)

Languages barrier: Boukreev (guide) has poor language skills

HACE (High Altitude Cerebral Edema)

HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema)

Hypoxia: condition in which the body is deprived of oxygen supply

They underestimated the weather conditions and ignored the signs of the imminent storm

-73°C wind chill

Main Events
The Problems
Allow 2-way interaction (downward/upward) to encourage assertive communication

Improve relationships and interpersonal trust with meetings before the expedition

Encourage acknowledgment of differences in culture and seek common understanding

Increase the number of radios and use better equipment

Confront with other climbers who reached the summit before to have a different point of view
Group involvement and participation in order to stimulate problem solving and creativity (example: brainstorming)

Increase motivation

Have both a charismatic and transactional leadership style

Delegation of decisions to the guides in case of emergency

Set strict rules ... and respect them!
The Conclusion
Some climbers gave up reaching the summit.
5 people, included the leaders of the two expeditions, perished during the descent.
Many climbers were critically injured.
The Solutions
Lack of experience & physical skills
Leaders should select the right costumers

To set strict recruitment criteria to ensure members to have adequate skills, choosing people with at least one high altitude experience

Increasing physical training

Forming smaller teams with qualify members
Path Dependence
Stimulate creativity by encouraging brainstorming

Strengthen formalization to guide the thinking
Escalation of
Involving in the decision making process skilled people external to the expedition to support teamwork

Delegation of responsibilities (and rotation of the decision makers) to have an effective communication and gather feedback to identify "emergency spot"

Taking in consideration the other groups actions
Lack of Planning & Formalization
Leaders should plan in advance, inform about the risks and follow the action plan

Having contingency plan to reduce risk

Written regulations manual delivered in advance

Allow guides and team members to speak with the leaders to have constant feedback of the current situation

Having more than enough supplies
Rob Hall
Scott Fischer
Thank You !
From mt Everest to mt Brè
Pros :
we are all driven by a common goal
some of us were connected before starting
moreover we shared similar background

we didn't have a lot of time
absence of a leader
there were some issue caused by our different decision making styles (directive, analytical, conceptual, behavioural)
From mt Everest to Markstrat
Some of you reached the ''Everest summit'' and some others didn't...

Could this be related to a decision making issue within the group's members?

A lot of time was lost trying to overcome logistical problems
Most of the climbers reached the top after the turnaround time
Some climbers were left alone and got lost in the snowstorm
M.A.Roberto, G.M.Carioggia. ''Mount Everest 1996''. (Harverd Business School,2003)
Janis & L. Mann. ''Decision Making: a psychological analysis of conflict, choice and commitment''. (New York: free press, 1977)
A. Korsgaard, D. Schweiger & H. Sapienza. ''Building commitment, attachment and trust in strategic decision making teams: the role of procedural justice''. (Academy of management journal, 1995)
E. Jones and R. Nisbett. ''The actor and observer: divergent perceptions of the causes of behavior''. (General learning press,1971)
Michael A. Roberto. ''Lessons from Everest: the interaction of cognitive bias, psychological safety and system complexity''. (Working paper 2002)
M. Useem. ''The leadership lessons of Mount Everest''. (Harvard's Business Review, 2001)
M. Buelens, K.Sinding, C.Waldstrom, R.Kreiter & A.Kinicki. ''Organisational Behaviour, 4th edition. (Mc Graw Hill,2011).
P.J. Montana & B.H.Charnov ''Management 4th edition''. (Barron's 2000)
David C. Thomas. ''Cross-Cultural management''. (Sage 2008).
Robert Markowitz FILM: Into thin air: death on Everest (1997)
The groups ignored weather conditions
Bad health conditions
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