Apollo 13 - Short Essay

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Apollo 13
Formations of group dynamics are important to achieving a set of goals set forth by a group of individuals. Groups tend to follow a natural course of cohesion and function. Research has been done to understand group dynamics and one of the most widely accepted models is that of Bruce Tuckman. His research shows groups follow a set path of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Apollo 13 gives several examples of Tuckman’s model. In the following, we will touch briefly on the model and the role of Ken Mattingly.

Ken's involvement was motivated by a few factors. His individual goal of being an astronaut and steering the flight to the moon was our initial exposure. As the story continued, we saw that his drive to reach team and personal goals gave him the push to assist from the ground. His interpersonal attraction to his crew, gave him the drive to assist his “friends.” Ken fulfilled interpersonal needs were seen as a vital member of the team when he was called in to assist when the crew was endangered.

When the Apollo capsule became disabled, it had to be repaired to return to Earth. In doing this, the crew had to power down which would cause lack of energy to restart. Ken was tasked with using the simulator to determine how to restart the capsule. He was motivated by his duty to NASA and his admiration and friendship with the crew. Using this motivation, he formed a group of simulator engineers. The "storming" phase is characterized by individuals establishing themselves and giving rise to conflict and competition. This was most evident throughout the first meeting. The simulator engineers were continually motivated by fear and self-protection. When a new issue was presented, they would “brainstorm” to determine the best way to handle it. This was seen when the group had to build a filter using only items available to the crew. A common need for resolution compelled them to “put their heads together.” With limited...
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