Structural Frame When looking at the challenger disaster through a structural framework view we can see that NASA did in fact have a very structured setup, all of the divisions worked separately and together, albeit not as well as they should have been. Their organization existed for many different goals but the main one was to continue the running of the reusable space shuttle in order to further progress our nations space program.
While this was the main goal of the organization they had many other goals, many of which they did not meet during this operation of launching the Challenger mission. The goals that they did not meet were the goals of not letting a shuttle launch in unsafe conditions, including icy launch pad conditions and faulty blowback rings which work even worse in the cold than they do under normal temperatures, and last but not least they failed to meet the goal of not loosing any human life as a result of the launch.
All of these failures stem from a faulty command structure, because even though there were several chances for people who were informed of the unsafe conditions to cancel the launch it still went on as planned. If you want to stretch it all the way to the top it reaches to the president who had expressed that he wanted the shuttle to be in space when he was giving the state of the union address and being the commander-in-chief he is at the top of the structure that NASA is part of.
The way that the structural frame works best is when rationality prevails, but this disaster stemmed from people being irrational and not listening to people like Roger Boisjoly who was the number one expert on the rubber o-rings at Morton Thiokol, if his superiors at Thiokol and their counterparts at NASA were actually using rational thinking to make decisions then they would have listened to him and canceled the launch without a doubt.
Another characteristic of the structural frame is that the organization can increase its efficiency and enhance its performance via specialization and visions of labor which NASA is pretty good at with all of its various divisions working simultaneously in order to launch a multi billion dollar piece of equipment into space which is absolutely no easy task, and I think that in the challenger disaster’s case it was NASA’s extensive amount of divisions lack of communication that ultimately caused the error to occur.
With the way that NASA is structured they have plenty of levels that the decisions must go through before they can be made final and the problem with this is that sometimes the person making the decision at the top isn’t aware of all the information pertaining to that decision so they now have an uninformed person making the decision on whether or not to launch and multi billion dollar space shuttle with seven human beings on board despite the fact that many different people were well aware of the malfunctioning o-rings.
When you have top engineers praying to god that a rocket won’t explode on of the most expensive and sophisticated things on the planet then you should probably not be launching it. When it comes down to it NASA did have a very faulty structure at the time of the disaster, I don’t know if they implemented any changes after the challenger blew up but I really hope they did.
Their chain of command needs to be flattened in my opinion, the decision makers need to be closer to the front lines and need to be informed about every aspect of the spacecraft before making an informed rational decision on whether or not to launch, only after this is done would they be able to avoid any future mishaps of this kind.
In addition to NASA’s screw ups Thiokol was no innocent participant in this ordeal, their management was also being ignorant in not listening to two top engineers when they voiced their concerns about the rockets, and due to this they allowed the launch to go on even when they could have given the word to halt it and NASA would have had to follow, but instead they gave a go-ahead which led to the deaths of six astronauts and one school teacher.
If that isn’t reason enough to reorganize the structure of your organization then I don’t know what is. HR Frame If we take a look at the disaster with a human resource point of view there are absolutely some things that pop up as done wrong. The foremost of which stems from the inherent meaning of the word human resource, the seven people who lost their lives that day did so because of poor decision making on behalf of NASA and Morton Thiokol.
If anyone who had anything to do with making the decision to launch the shuttle had even a shadow of a doubt that the craft would explode then they should have absolutely postponed the launch for the sole reason that it would be unnecessary to put those seven lives in the way of danger. I would think that everyone at NASA would be more devoted to the preservation of human life due to their almost stellar record in the past, the exception being the fire on Apollo 1.
With NASA inherently always being in the public spotlight you would think that they would take even more extra care to make sure that everything that goes on is on the up and up but this is not what happened. The management within NASA was clearly not so much concerned with their human resources as much as they were with keeping the launch on schedule. Another fact about the company’s human resource practices that surfaced during the hearings was that the higher ups were completely alright with trying to destroy the careers of some of the lower level people if it meant that they wouldn’t have to take the fall for the disaster.
Morton Thiokol didn’t act much better because due to Roger Boisjoly’s whistle blowing he was severely neglected at work and taken off of his projects and eventually forced into leaving the company followed by three years of being emotionally crippled by the whole ordeal, and this happened to him because he did the right thing and testified, along with Richard Cook, in the presidential commission to investigate the failure’s hearings. The way that NASA was setup needed to be reworked as far as human resources are concerned because an organization needs to serve its workers just as much as the workers serve the organization.
This was not happening especially after the incident because the fallout inside NASA was immense, many people stepped down, and this may have been avoided if they had provided adequate mental help for employees who were troubled by the disaster. The moment that a person no longer feels like an essential part of their organization is the moment that employee is lost, and in a soundly build human resource frame this should never happen.
Thiokol made the mistake of ignoring its top expert on seals on an issue that was entirely based upon whether or not the second seal would hold against the blow back. What happened the night before the launch when Thiokol and NASA had a conference call discussing the problem was an example of very poor decision making due to the pressure from NASA to not hold up the launch. This might have been an issue between a manufacturer and a consumer but still NASA had unfairly put pressure on Thiokol to OK the launch which cause them to treat he sealing problem as if it was no big deal when in reality every single piece of a space shuttle and accompanying rockets are essential to the success of the mission. All in all NASA treated many people within the organization in a way that an organization should never treat its most valuable resource, which is humans, especially in a field with such a high demand for human capital from the highly trained astronauts all the way down the highly trained rocket engineers.