Public Administration Case Study – Columbia’s Final Mission

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Public Administration Case Study – Columbia’s Final Mission

These assignments are designed to provide you an opportunity to think about how you would handle specific public administration issues. There is no right or wrong answer for the assignments, per se. Your memo should have the following sections:

Central Issue·

Major Factors in Development of Policy/Management Problem·

Alternatives for Resolving the Problem·

Author’s Recommended Solution and Rationale·

Lessons for Public Administration·

Grades will be determined on:

Ability to present the relevance of the case, main facts, key issues, theoretical relationships,·

and practical lessons;

Ability to adequately address the five sections;·

Ability to support your arguments; and·

Ability to write in a professional fashion.·

Case Study #1: HBS 304090 (Columbia’s Final Mission)

You may find these two reading helpful while writing your answers:

McCurdy, H. E. (1992). NASA’s organizational culture. Public Administration Review, 52(2), 189- 192.

Donahue, A. K., & O’Leary, R. (2012). Do shocks change organizations? The case of NASA. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 22(3), 395-425.

Recommended questions to address or to consider:

  1. Assess the performance of Rodney Rocha and Linda Ham. Did each do all what he or she

should have done? Why was it so hard to hold anyone accountable?

  1. How organizational issues kept important technical concerns from being heard? How

organizations should deal with “ambiguous threats” -weak signals of potential crisis?

  1. What role did NASA’s culture play in the Columbia disaster?
  2. Put yourself in the shoes of the managers in the case, consider the following questions: What

prior assumptions and beliefs shaped the way that you thought and behaved during the Columbia mission? What pressures affected your behavior? Where did these pressures originate? In what ways did the culture impact your actions? If you were in that person’s shoes during the Columbia mission, would you have behaved differently? Why or why not?

Public Administration Case Study – Columbia’s Final Mission

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