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The Concept of Administrative Power and Shuttle Columbia Case Study

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Megan Castle

on 23 May 2013

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Transcript of The Concept of Administrative Power and Shuttle Columbia Case Study

The Concept of Administrative Power and Shuttle Columbia Case Study
Richard J. Stillman II
Norton E. Long
Maureen Hogan Casamayou By:
Megan Castle
Jeanne Yakin What does Norton Long view as the key element of successful administration? Shuttle Columbia

Challenger explodes
73 seconds into flight January 26, 1986 1991-1994 Shuttle program
operating budget
decreases 21% 1992
Daniel Goldin replaces Richard H. Truly as NASA's administrator
Goldin implements Deming management model Change in command "Faster, better, cheaper!" 1996 Centralized management system neglected
NASA reverts to pre-Challenger days of management
Bryan O'Connor, head of the Space Shuttle Program at NASA headquarters, resigns By 1997, 13% of the total workforce of the Shuttle Program was cut
Increase in contractors 2001 NASA"on probation" due to being
over budget and behind schedule in
assembling the Space Station
NASA develops a plan to regain credibility. The plan February 19, 2003 October, 2007 2002 October: Shuttle Atlantis loses a large piece of foam from the bipod ramp on its external tank
Program Requirements Control Board recommends categorizing incident as an in-flight anomaly, yet instead this event is categorized as "in action"
December: no flexibility in schedule, everyone works overtime January 16, 2003 Shuttle Columbia launches and suspicious
debris falls off the bipod ramp on the left
side of the external tank, and hits the left
wing of the orbiter. Concerned engineers begin Crater modeling
Requests for photos of left wing are ignored/denied January 21-24, 2003 Engineers present concerns to Linda Ham,
Chair of the Mission Management Team, and Ron
Dittemore, Space Shuttle Program Manager. Management assessed the incident
as no threat to flight safety, against
pleas from Engineers to obtain pictures
to confirm/assess damage. Engineers attempted contacting JSC Engineering
Directorate requesting an order for Columbia crew to inspect damage to left wing, yet never received a reply. Engineers made 3 imagery
requests to the air force for photos
of the shuttle, but, Linda Ham, not
realizing these requests were from
her own engineers, terminated
the request in "a purely
bureaucratic reaction." February 1, 2003

The Columbia Shuttle disintegrates
during what was thought to be a routine re-entry, 16 minutes prior to its scheduled landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. How did this happen? External forces "shaped higher-management perceptions of risks"
Internal launch pressures shifted focus away from safety
NASA culture "frowned on anyone holding up production by voicing safety concerns"
Decentralized organizational system Could this have been avoided? Early warning signs
Foam problem repeatedly ignored
Didn't learn from Challenger tragedy; "mistakes were rooted in the complex relationship between NASA's external environment and its internal decision-making behavior" What can NASA do to prevent future tragedies? 1. Long-term commitment of external political forces outside NASA, including adequate resources transcending current political climates' agendas
2. NASA must realistically determine launch schedules contingent upon available resources
3. Leadership that fosters safety as a priority
4. A designated safety organization, independent of the space centers that operates with a centralized authority, which would improve communication between agency engineers and shuttle program managers
5. A return to the centralized management plan originally implemented post-Columbia "There is no more forlorn spectacle in the administrative world than an agency and a program possessed of statutory life armed with executive orders, sustained in the courts, yet stricken with paralysis and deprived of power." -Long "Administrative rationality demands that objectives be determined and sights set in conformity with a realistic appraisal of power position and potential."
-Long Bureaucratic agencies often "lead and are themselves led in conflicting directions. This is not due to a dull-witted incapacity to see the contradictions in their behavior but is an almost inevitable result of the contradictory nature of their support." -Long "Administrative rationality depends on the establishment of uniform value premises in the decisional centers of organization. Unfortunately, the value premises of those forming vital elements of political support are often far from uniform." -Long Power "is part of the disorderly, fragmented, decentralized landscape of American public administration" -Long
"Basic to the problem of administrative rationality is that of organizational identification and point of view. To whom is one loyal--unit, section, branch, division, bureau, department, administration, government, country, people, world history, or what?" -Long "The reason why government reorganization is so difficult is that far more than government in the formal sense is involved in reorganization." -Long "In the absence of a common power capable of enforcing decisions premised on the supremacy of the collective interest, sauve qui peut is common sense."
-Long NASA's plan to launch Node 2 of the space station
Deadline of February 19, 2003
Node 2 would pave the way for new research laboratories
If goal was not met, NASA would risk losing financial support from the White House and Congress Rogers Commission
established 1990 Review of NASA's budget Administrators "develop a shrewd understanding of the politically feasible in the group structure within which they work" -Long "The task of the presidency lies in feeling out the alternatives of policy which are consistent with the retention and increase of the group support on which the administration rests." -Long How will NASA adapt to these changes?
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