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Engineers and Management: The Challenge of the Challenger Incident
Patricia H. Werhane
Journal of Business Ethics
Vol. 10, No. 8 (Aug., 1991), pp. 605-616
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25072192
Page Count: 12
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The Challenger incident was a result of at least four kinds of difficulties: differing perceptions and priorities of the engineers and management at Thiokol and at NASA, a preoccupation with roles and role responsibilities on the part of engineers and managers, contrasting corporate cultures at Thiokol and its parent, Morton, and a failure both by engineers and by managers to exercise individual moral responsibility. I shall argue that in the Challenger case organizational structure, corporate culture, engineering and managerial habits, and role responsibilites precipitated events contributing to the Challenger disaster. At the same time, a number of individuals at Morton Thiokol and NASA were responsible for the launch failure. Differing world views, conflicting priorities of the engineers and managers on this project, and the failure of either engineers or management to take personal moral responsibility for decision-making contributed significantly to the event.
Journal of Business Ethics © 1991 Springer