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Cleaning up after the Cold War: Management and Social Issues

Richard Reed, David J. Lemak and W. Andrew Hesser
The Academy of Management Review
Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1997), pp. 614-642
Published by: Academy of Management
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/259408
Page Count: 29
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Cleaning up after the Cold War: Management and Social Issues
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Abstract

For many years the primary focus of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex was the production of nuclear materials and weapons, but, with the end of the Cold War, its mission has been changed to one of environmental cleanup. This dramatic shift in mission means that the complex is facing new internal and external problems that are forcing organizational change. In this article we examine the weapons complex through the lens of systems-based models of organization, and we find that the complex has moved from a closed to an open system. We also deduce that by remaining with a rational system, rather than moving to a natural system, the transition to the new mission is being made more difficult than it perhaps should be; this point becomes apparent through discussions on the specific problems that the complex is facing in the related areas of organization-culture change, the public's health-fears, and the management of risk. Our intent in this article is to draw attention to these management and social issues and to identify areas where there is a need for theoretical and empirical research.

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