The Importance of Ethical Management

Topics: Space Shuttle, Management, Risk, Philosophy / Pages: 2 (399 words) / Published: Jan 30th, 2014
e solid rocket booster problem was rooted in a design flaw that NASA and their contractor, Morton Thiokol, failed to address. The engineers at Morton Thiokol expressed concerns about the launch, as the predicted low temperatures would affect the O-Ring’s ability to seal properly. However, due to NASA’s ambitious launch schedule, the program managers were appalled at the thought of delaying the launch. One manager from NASA remarked, “My God, Thiokol, when do you want me to launch, next April? [1]” The supervising engineer was told by management “to take off his engineering hat and put on his management hat [1].” This statement by management promoted poor ethical decision making.
Engineers have a duty to report to an appropriate authority of the potential risks when a client/employer fails to follow the engineering recommendations. This duty involves risking their reputation and career. Roger Boisjoly became the whistleblower for the prelaunch decisions and was ostracized

The Importance of Ethical Management
The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster is a prime example of how poor management decisions can lead to devastating results. Morton-Thiokol was known to have a corporate culture where upsetting the client would not be tolerated. The engineering management knew that a recommendation to delay the shuttle would disappoint their client (NASA) upsetting the upper management and potentially losing the contract with NASA . However, the engineering management made the ethical decision of expressing their concerns to NASA regarding the O-Ring's ability to properly seal at low temperatures. It was not until Joe Kilminster (vice president of Morton-Thiokol) intervened that the engineering management unexpectedly decided to change their decision and approve the launch (overruling Boisjoly). It is believed that this strict management style at Morton-Thiokol impacted the decision of the engineering management as it only rewarded employees for pleasing the customers, but

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