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Can a Culture be Lethal? Summary & Criticism By 17 th Group: Virpi Hytönen, Mengyuan Yang, Xiaohui Zhu.

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Presentation on theme: "Can a Culture be Lethal? Summary & Criticism By 17 th Group: Virpi Hytönen, Mengyuan Yang, Xiaohui Zhu."— Presentation transcript:

1 Can a Culture be Lethal? Summary & Criticism By 17 th Group: Virpi Hytönen, Mengyuan Yang, Xiaohui Zhu

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3 Agenda ▪ Summary for the article ▪ Implication for management ▪ Criticism and more thinking over culture

4 The Space Shuttle Columbia ▪ In the February year 2003 the Shuttle was exploded apart ▪ Columbia Accident Investigation Board was set up ▪ The immediate cause to the disaster was a hole in the Thermal Protection System ▪ The indirect causes was found in the organizational culture

5 Organizational culture ▪ From engineering culture to the managerial culture ▪ From open communication to the communication barriers ▪ Efficiency over the risk ▪ “Faster, cheaper, better” ▪ “What can go wrong?”

6 Agenda ▪ Summary for the article ▪ Implication for management ▪ Criticism and more thinking over culture

7 Implication ▪C ulture is ▪ a pattern of shared basic assumptions that a group learned as it solved problems of external adaptation and internal integration, ▪ to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think and feel in relation to those problems. ▪Culture is learned. ▪ An individual or a group acquires patterns of thought and behavior by processes of socialization and acculturation. ▪ Leaders play a major role in shaping organizational culture. ▪When norms of safety, respect, honesty, fairness and the like are integral parts of a culture, its people make ethical decisions.

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9 Agenda ▪ Summary for the article ▪ Implication for management ▪ Criticism and more thinking over culture

10 Criticism 1 Strategy wrong or culture wrong? ▪ Usually we only judge culture as “suitable” or “unsuitable” ▪ Long-term: Whether it’s suitable for Vision or Core Value ▪ Short-term: Whether it’s suitable for Strategy ▪ “Wrong culture” = “unsuitable Culture” ▪ NASA’s vision and mission remain unchanged; However, NASA’s culture change keeps close pace with strategy change (see next slide) ▪ If culture is suitable and right, what is wrong ???? STRATEGY !!!

11 Criticism 1 (cont’d) NASA Established Nixon’s announcement 1986 Challenger disaster 2003 Columbia disaster 2011 Space Shuttle Program end Core Value: Safety / People / Excellence / Integrity Strategy Change: All eggs in one basket: Shuttle Program Heavy schedule of Shuttle launch, e.g. target 714 flights Stop Mars project and Space Platform 1982 Reagan’s declaration Shuttle was “fully operational” Strategy Change: Internalize the commercial and military goals More launch pressure Outside economic resources, e.g. contractor which designs O-ring for Challenger Strategy Change: “Manage risk and cost to ensure success” Make individual manager understand risk and cost estimation Culture focus on Excellence Culture focus on Production and Bureaucracy

12 Criticism 2 How to develop HRO (Highly Reliable Organization)? ▪ For NASA, we suggest to establish hypocrisy ▪ Image to government: promising economy engine in the future ▪ Image to public: world’s hero, safety first, meaningful work ▪ Image to internal: still care about technical problems and engineers’ opinions ▪ Maybe by PR management and cautious Scorecard design

13 Criticism 3 Can culture really be changed individually? ▪ Culture is a comprehensive “side product” of other factors: History, Leader, Strategy, Performance Management, HR Management, Internal Control ▪ Changes must start from factors other than Culture ▪ For NASA, we suggest change from STRATEGY DESIGN !! ▪ Prioritize safety, at least measure technical risk and financial risk separately ▪ Cost control can be included, but cannot be aggressive ▪ Strongly advise to put all commercial projects in one business unit ▪......

14 Thanks for listening and sharing ! By 17 th Group: Virpi Hytönen, Mengyuan Yang, Xiaohui Zhu

15 Discussion … Have you ever experienced interesting or freaky working cultures? How to change culture? What is culture in your opinion? Any suggestion for such political economy as NASA?

16 A case about “lethal culture” ▪ Foxconn: largest employer in China ( 1 million+), manufacturer for BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Wii U ▪ During the whole year of 2010, 14 employees took suicide at plant site, aging from 18 to 24 ▪ Some clues for working culture: ▪ 12 hours’ working / day ▪ If unable to meet hourly quota, no rest ▪ Conversation in the workshop is forbidden ▪ Every movement is standardized for maximum efficiency ▪ So hard to make friends because work shift changes quite often ▪ Modern factory facility: swimming pool and cinemas


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