Respond to the case study questions for “The Cultural Tale of Two Shuttles” beginning on page 79 in the Miller textbook. Case study questions are on page 81 and are also listed below:

Case Analysis Questions

  1. What factors in NASA’s culture contributed to the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters?
    Is it possible to identify specific cultural markers, performances, and values that were critical?
  2. Cultural change was obviously difficult at NASA. Can you think of specific things that could have been done to make cultural changes more lasting or more effective?
  3. How could Karl Weick’s model of organizing be brought to bear on these disasters?
    Can you identify patterns of sensemaking that actors used in coping with equivocality?
    Did these sensemaking patterns contribute to what happened an NASA?

Think critically about the case study. Take some time to organize your answers before responding. You should have a brief 1-2 sentence introduction and conclusion, while the body of the paper should make clear connections between concepts from the chapter and the case study by citing evidence from the readings to support your argument. How do you make these connections? By citing information (this information is really evidence to support your ideas) directly from the chapter and the case study. Answers to the questions can be found in the chapter. For example, one of the questions asks, “Can you identify patterns of sensemaking that actors used in coping with equivocality?” First, you need to review the section about sensemaking in the chapter. Once you’re familiar with the material, then turn to the case study: can you find where the actors (NASA officials) did or did not use any of the sensemaking tactics (i.e. assembly rules, communication cycles, causal maps, retention, etc.) outlined in Weick’s theory of organizing? Can you spot where sensemaking patterns were used at NASA, or can you show where maybe there was an opportunity to use sensemaking tactics, but they failed to do so? Quote directly from the chapter and/or the case study as evidence to support your ideas. Be sure to clearly respond to each question prompt.

Avoid devoting large amounts of space to summarizing the case study; I’ve read it and understand it. Instead, use the paper to discuss your responses to the questions. The direct quotes you pull from the chapter or case study should be short and concise, maybe just a phrase, but all the evidence you use to support your ideas that is not your own must be cited. Citing a direct quote looks like this:

According to Miller (2015) one of the main reasons for the Columbia disaster was NASA’s “reliance of past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices” (p. 80).

Notice where the punctuation is in this sentence; the period comes after the page number citation. All direct quote citations must include the author, year, and page number.

Along with quoting directly, you can also paraphrase. According to Purdue Owl (2015) paraphrasing is:

  • your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
  • one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
  • a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.

Paraphrasing also requires that you cite your information with author and year: (Miller, 2015).

By this point in your academic career you should be familiar with citing information correctly. This is done to avoid plagiarism. Even with a relatively short paper like this case study, it is most important that you properly cite the information you use to construct your own answer.

Yes of course, you should also include a reference page. If you don’t know how to format a reference page (you should have experience with this) click on APA Guidelines and look for Reference List: Author/Authors.

Finally, be sure to proof your work for correct spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and grammar usage. Do not take this part of the assignment lightly. You need to spend time proofing your work; the paper you are turning in for a grade is not a draft; it is your final submission for a grade. Be sure you are following the directions outlined here. Take time to look at the rubric I use as a guide when reviewing your papers.

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