The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster Case Study by Nicky

Analysis of the factors leading to the space shuttle disaster.
# 145356 | 1,937 words | 1 source | APA | 2010 | US
Published on Nov 04, 2010 in Astronomy (Space Exploration) , Aviation, Aeronautics (General)

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


This paper examines and analyzes the shortages in organizational management that ultimately led to the Columbia space shuttle disaster. It focuses on the investigation following the disaster that showed how NASA's organizational problems contributed greatly to the shuttle's accident. No one single management mistake was responsible but rather it was the combined effect of many. Various problems related to organizational behavior at the basis of the Columbia space shuttle disaster are listed. Additionally, the paper lists various solutions and alternative solutions that would have averted the disaster. The paper concludes by stating that the failure of Columbia had been due to insufficient training of the seven astronauts, poor communications within the institution, insufficient funds, a far too complex organizational structure or an overconfident culture. This paper contains a figure.

Case Summary
The Problem Issues
Alternative Solutions
Analysis of Alternative Solutions
The Final Solution
Concluding Remarks

From the Paper:

"The case then moves on to identifying the problems and sub-problems. It explains that the reasons for an overzealous culture relied primarily on political forces, emerged from the Cold War 'battles' with the Soviet Union. Having won the competition by sending a man in space at the end of the 1960s, NASA gained the reputation of a winner who could do everything right and better than others. In time, it led them to pay less attention to details and reduce their efforts towards safety. Then, the government cut NASA expenditure, the funding for Space Shuttle Program being reduced by 40 percent. As a consequence then, the organization downsized 42 percent of its employees and outsourced key responsibilities, such as safety oversight. As a consequence, shuttles began to encounter functional difficulties - these were generally related to technological shortages and little was done to improve the organizational behavior at NASA."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Integrative Case: The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster - Organizational Behavior as a Matter of Life and Death, pp. 488 - 497

Cite this Case Study:

APA Format

The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster (2010, November 04) Retrieved June 07, 2023, from

MLA Format

"The Columbia Space Shuttle Disaster" 04 November 2010. Web. 07 June. 2023. <>