Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational Communication by Phillip K. TompkinsApollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational Communication by Phillip K. Tompkins

Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational…

byPhillip K. Tompkins, Emily V. Tompkins

Paperback | August 6, 2004

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Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program provides unparalleled longitudinal insight into the organizational successes and failures of NASA. The book treats NASA over its 45-year history from 1958 to 2003, concentrating on five "data points": * 1967: when Tompkins first served as a Summer Faculty Consultant in Organizational Communication to legendary rocket scientist Wernher von Braun during the Apollo Program. * 1968: when he served in the same capacity to help reorganize NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. * 1986: when he investigated the communication failures that caused the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger. * 1987: when he researched NASA's highly successful Aviation Safety Reporting System. * 2003: when he interpreted the communication failures leading up to the catastrophic failure of the space shuttle Columbia. The result is a presentation of concrete communication correlates of organizational success and failure. Tompkins is a master of what Clifford Geertz called "thick description." The result is a compelling, richly detailed, longitudinal case study concentrating on processual changes incommunication-as-organization. In this book, Tompkins introduces theory subtly, inserting it to explain details of the organization that would otherwise defy understanding. In considering other organizations in trouble, Tompkins identifies ten "communication transgressions," one of which, for example, is "ignorantia affectata"--an affected or cultivated ignorance of organizational problems. In contrast to these failed organizations and their pathologies, Tompkinsoffers a sketch of two healthy organizations that live by "value logics"--applying ethical values in the organizational workplace. There are lessons to be learned from NASA's disasters. With all of the high-profile ethical lapses in U.S. corporations, Tompkins advocates individuals and organizationstaking responsibility for their actions.
Phillip K. Tompkins is at University of Colorado at Boulder (Emeritus).
Title:Apollo, Challenger, Columbia: The Decline of the Space Program: A Study in Organizational…Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 5.91 × 8.9 × 0.71 inPublished:August 6, 2004Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195330447

ISBN - 13:9780195330441


Table of Contents

IntroductionChapter One:The Columbia AccidentChapter Two:The Week Following: Debris, Data, and Fault TreesChapter Three:Culture and Communication in NASAChapter Four:Communication and Culture in the Marshall Space Flight CenterChapter Five:The Challenger AccidentChapter Six:The Mysteries of Columbia ContinueChapter Seven:Reading the CAIB Report: Echoes of ChallengerChapter Eight:The Challenger-Columbia Syndrome and the Decline of American Organizations and Institutions: 'Speaking Truth to Power'Chapter Nine:Wrapping It Up

Editorial Reviews

"While the unfolding of the sequence of events nicely frames the book, Tompkins brings in relevant theories and concepts that provide the needed foundations for understanding practice. The book provides many teaching moments about organizational communication, including such topics as culture,decision-making, identification, leadership, change, structure, and ethics. Few books in our field do this good a job of telling a compelling story while also providing valuable theoretical insight."--Greg Larson, University of Montana