NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to give it its full title, is a truly remarkableorganization. Founded by President Dwight…

  

NASA, or the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to giveit its full title, is a truly remarkable organization. Founded by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1958 as a civilian agency of the US government, it is dedicated to space exploration as well as aeronautics and aerospace research and development. Just eleven years after its formation, NASA had achieved the incredible feat of landing human beings on the surface of the moon and has since gone on to launch the Skylab Space Station, develop the Space Shuttle, support the construction and development of the International Space Station, and is currently working towards the proposed Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and other innovative next-generation projects.  Given its staggering successes, NASA has quite rightly gained a reputation for being one of the most pioneering and inventive organizations in the world. Of course, much of this can be attributed to sheer financial power, with an annual budget of $19 billion in 2016, which is 0.5% of the US federal budget. At the height of the Cold War “space race” in the 1960s, the NASA budget accounted for as much as 4.5% of US federal government expenditure. But despite the unquestionable talent and money at NASA’s disposal, their organizational management structure must also be credited for synergizing the prodigious skill and knowledge within the agency and creating an organizational culture which fosters innovation. NASA is often held up as the prototypical example of an adhocracy. Rather than a bureaucracy of strict processes and regulations, relatively autonomous project teams are formed to complete certain tasks, which allows the organization to work more flexibly, nimbly, and efficiently. However, as the NBC news article in our case study demonstrates, following the Challenger and Columbia Space Shuttle disasters in 1986 and 2003 respectively, the Agency has faced widespread criticism for an organizational culture which many feel lacks effective central regulation, leading to unacceptable lapses in safety procedures. With reference to this article[JC1] , which elaborates on the NASA case-study in more depth, and the concepts you have covered in this unit, please answer the following questions. Discussion Questions 1. How could NASA benefit from the implementation of systems thinking within the organization? 2. Give an example of the application of general heuristics during the process of changing/defending organizational culture Business Management Project Management MGMT MGMT601

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