World Trade Center Case Study

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Re: American Ground: Unbuilding the World Trade Center

The central issue in this case is the impact that informal groups can have on public administration. On September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center was attacked by terrorists, over 3000 people lost their lives. There was, and still is, no doubt that this event reached throughout America and touched each one of us. We can all remember where we were and what we were doing the very moment we found out about it. This case expressed the issues that many people had concerning what to do in the aftermath of this disaster, especially New York firefighters. They lost 343 of their colleagues and were determined not to leave any of them behind. It reminded me of the military and their “no man left behind” mantra, and understandably so. However, because this disaster affected so many other people outside of just firefighters, it caused a lot of emotional distress for a variety of people. When dealing with emotionally charged informal groups such as this, it is important for public administrators to realize that they must not only consider their own individual objectives in order to achieve success, but must also consider the emotional impact on everyone involved.

In this case, the informal groups that formed consisted of widows, firemen, construction workers, and the police. Inherent in the culture of both firefighters and police is a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood. However, this incident created even stronger emotional bonds within each group but also created more dissention when interacting with the other groups involved. In this case, the grief that everyone was feeling brought each group together and created a long-lasting deep emotional bond. With a disaster such as this, in order for public administrators to identify the group’s needs and wants, they must take the time to listen and make decisions that are not only the most efficient but ones that consider the emotional...
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