Topics: Ethics, Space Shuttle, Time Pages: 4 (1662 words) Published: June 10, 2011
Responding to Groupthink and Faulty Reasoning at NASA
The group think concept is a summary of why many times groups make poor decisions. Yes its true what they say, that the more 1 mind is better than 2 and 3 is better than two, because they can provide different opinion’s and vantage points then if it is just one or two people discussing something. Many times in a group situation lower level employees won’t consult management because they know if they do, the decision will get bogged down in the wheels of bureaucracy. I think the key ethical problem that lead to the disaster with the NASA mission was that there wasn’t a great deal of trust and very little action taken by the mission control team when they found out a piece of insulating foam could damage the shuttle and cause 7 people to lose their lives. The previously achieved success led to overconfidence and a belief that no problem would bring down the mission. The upper echelon of management was only placed an emphasis on the launch rather than the safety of the astronaut’s or the quality of the shuttle. The engineers thought that the foam strike was very important and could cause a problem, but their manager Linda Ham, didn’t think so and disregarded this and didn’t run any tests to prevent this. Linda Ham put pressure on the engineers to not pursue the matter and because they had no concrete proof to back up their theory, they let it go. During the launching of the challenger the engineers at Morton Thiokol opposed the launch but their warning was not headed. Communication was a very big issue between the mission control team and the management. Ethical problems occurred when the leaders and managers ignored and disregarded the expert opinions and did not take appropriate action and choose rather to quash them.

A big reason and the most important reason for the disaster of the shuttle Columbia was that management choose to take the warning of insulating foam very lightly, a warning given...
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