"Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance”
In what context should the Endurance expedition be analyzed? As a scientific endeavor? An entrepreneurial venture? An exercise in imperial opportunity? By what criteria should the expedition be evaluated? Given your answer to the preceding question, was it a success or a failure?
The case study examined Ernest Shackleton and his Antarctic exploration with his ship the Endurance. This expedition took place in 1915 and was set to cross the continent from sea to sea. Shackleton was aiming to sail the boat through the Weddell Sea and then take his men to the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the continent, therefore making it a 1500 mile journey for the crew. (Koehn, 2010 p.1) This journey had high associated risks, and needed to secure tremendous funding for, two vessels, as well as two crews. The Endurance expedition should be analyzed as a scientific endeavor as well as an entrepreneurial venture. On one hand Antarctic exploration was a very popular endeavor because the land for the most part was unexplored and any attainable information on undiscovered land was highly insightful and valuable. And on the other hand Ernest Shackleton was trying to establish a name for himself as an explorer. Shackleton’s main goal was to be the first to reach the South Pole, as no one had claimed it yet. Britain held records for the farthest exploration to the north and south polar areas, but faced international competition as time went on. There was an international race to reach the South Pole and claim it under England. This mission was soon lost to England so Shackleton decided to try once more to “do the last big thing in the south”. (Koehn, 2010 p.5) Shackleton announced that he would be compiling a crew and the necessary components to trek the Antarctic from sea to sea. Many missions involving polar exploration carried a high risk and usually experienced devastating losses. To...
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