Leadership Performance of Linda Ham: Analysis Assignment

Leadership Performance of Linda Ham: Analysis Assignment Words: 1522

Golden was known for being able to cut costs and still provide many space programs. His “crusade for efficiency” (2004) ended up being the most visible flaw in an administration philosophy that lost another seven astronauts. Another glimpse into what kind of man and leader Daniel S. Golden is, can be found in a lawsuit by the Department of Justice that “that seeks more than $170 million from TRW Inc. , which is accused of padding government space contracts with research-and- development costs ‘that should have been paid out of Try’s profits. The lawsuit contends that Daniel S. Golden, who ran the company’s Space & Technology Group during the early sass, participated in the alleged overcharges by authorizing suspect accounting practices. ” (1998) Leadership styles: Both Golden and Ham clearly pushed the NASA agenda which was set by Golden. Both appear to fit into the autocratic leadership style in that they demanded absolute obedience. Neither fostered a culture where diverse opinion was welcome. Both created an atmosphere where diverse or dissenting opinion was ignored and unwelcome.

Golden and Ham forced many NASA employees, specifically engineers and safety personnel, to become “organizational bystanders” (2008) because they were unwilling to risk their career to challenge the agenda of Golden and Ham. NASA became a workplace with administrative blinders on. “NASA is not functioning as a learning organization” (Aegean, 2003). “[NASA mission managers] were convinced, without study, that nothing could be done about such an emergency. The intellectual curiosity and skepticism that a solid safety culture requires was almost entirely absent.

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Shuttle managers did not embrace safety-conscious attitudes. Instead, their attitudes were shaped and reinforced by an organization that, in this instance, was incapable of stepping back and gauging its biases. Bureaucracy and process trumped thoroughness and reason” (Aegean, 2003). Ham’s influence on SST-107 is most clearly described in this excerpt from the Case Study on the Columbia Accident by Maureen Hogan Summary, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia: Ham did inquire about the foam strike, but: not to determine what action to take during Columbians mission, but to understand the implications for SST-114.

During a Mission Management Team meeting on January 21, she asked about the rationale put forward at the SST-113 Flight Readiness review passed muster not because of their inherent validity (and hence greater safety for the crew) but simply to launch another shuttle into space on schedule. As the CAB report states, Ham’s focus on examining the rationale for continuing to fly after foam problems with SST-87 and SST-112 indicates that her attention had already shifted from the threat of the foam posed to SST-107 to the downstream implications of the foam strike.

Ham was due to serve … As the launch integration manager for the next mission, SST-114. If the Shuttle Program’s rationale to fly with foam loss was found to be flawed, the flight, due to be launched in about a month, would have to be delayed per NASA rules that require serious problems to be resolved before the next flight. An SST-114 delay could in turn delay completion of the International Space Station’s Node 2, which was a high priority goal for NASA managers.

Further evidence of her preoccupation with meeting the designated launch schedule was reflected in Ham’s concern about the length of time to process photos of the Columbia on-orbit. According to the CAB, on January 23rd: Ham raised concerns that the extra time spent maneuvering Columbia to make the left wing visible for imaging would unduly impact the mission schedule; for example, science experiments would have to stop while imagery was taken. According to personal totes obtained by the Board: “Linda Ham said it was no longer being pursued since even if we saw something, we couldn’t do anything about it.

The Program didn’t want to spend the resources. ” (CAVIAR 2003) Further evidence of the unchallenged assumptions and lack of intellectual curiosity at NASA is described by Nowhere & Sterile, “At the January 24, Mission Management Team meeting at which the “no safety-of-flight” conclusion was presented, there was little engineering discussion about the assumptions made, and how the results would differ if other assumptions were used. Engineering solutions presented o management should have included a quantifiable range of uncertainty and risk analysis.

Those types of tools were readily available, routinely used, and would have helped management understand the risk involved in the decision. Management, in turn, should have demanded such information. The very absence of a clear and open discussion of uncertainties and assumptions in the analysis presented should have caused management to probe further. ” (2009) A different outcome: In reviewing this case study, am nearly certain that leadership style played a secondary role in the situation. The primary issue appears to be that the leaders,

Golden and Ham to be specific, allowed the outside influence of budgetary constraints imposed by Congress and the Presidential Administration to shape their mission and vision for NASA. In practical terms, the amount of money in the budget and the self-imposed goals of the number of shuttle missions to keep that budget from decreasing over-road concern for safety. Not only did it over- ride that concern for safety, but it created an organizational culture that ignored any line of thinking that challenged or threatened Anna’s goals.

We must remember that there are drawbacks in stating specific identified government organizational goals. When a government, or a component of government, forecasts where it wants to be in the future, it binds itself to those identified goals. Administrators become personally attached or emotionally involved and are loath to change for fear of appearing to admit failure. This certainly affected the leadership and policy decisions of Golden and Ham. Roach could have done more to bring the safety concerns to light, however in retrospect, he clearly would have risked his career in doing so.

We need more leaders, and followers, who are willing to risk their career especially when human life is at stake. A different outcome for SST-107 is very likely if NASA had truly functioned as a “High Reliability Organization”, which Wick and Satellite (2001) say is characterized by. A preoccupation with failure Reluctance to simplify interpretations Sensitivity to operations Commitment to resilience Deference to expertise Golden and Ham could have implemented the five key dimensions of collaboration: governance, administration, organizational autonomy, mutuality, and norms of trust and reciprocity.

They could have created a team or committee to review, research, and assess each and every safety concern hat was raised by any NASA employee. This team should have negotiated, committed, and then implemented those commitments. There was no trust and reciprocity between the NASA engineers and the NASA mission managers. Golden and Ham should have embraced a more Democratic Leadership Style. “Although a Democratic leader will make the final decision, he/she invites other members of the team to contribute to the decision making process.

This not only increases job satisfaction by involving employees or team members in what’s going on, but it also help to develop people’s skills. Employees and am members feel in control of their own destiny, such as the promotion they deserve and so are motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward. As participation takes time, this approach can lead to things happening more slowly but often the end result is better.

The approach can be most suitable where team work is essential and quality is more important than speed to market productivity. ” (2012) Yes, they would have likely missed future deadlines, probably scratched future missions, and maybe even lost some of Anna’s precious funding from Congress, but the strengths of the five key dimensions ere never given a chance to prevail. The reason why is glaringly clear: “The most costly resources of collaboration are not money but time and energy, neither of which can be induced. Huzzah (1996) With Anna’s entire function hinging on budgetary concerns that became strict deadlines, time trumped safety and everyone from Congress and the Presidential administration to NASA management and the entire workforce, all have “blood on their hands. ” My outlook: As a future leader, I am most profoundly struck by the impact of bureaucracy. I believe that even Golden and Ham would have changed their decisions had they ad the benefit of hindsight and knew that seven astronauts would lose their lives because of their lack of leadership, management, and administrative capabilities.

We must listen to alternative viewpoints and encourage open dialogue as future government leaders. We must strive for objectivity in our perspective and not allow our vision to be narrowed by clinging too tightly to a concept or idea that was good in another setting. If human safety is in any way a factor, our level of scrutiny in gathering facts for decision making must be to the utmost. My biggest take-away from this assignment is learning the definition of a high reliability organization” and the five bullets that must be embraced to be a true “high reliability organization”.

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