Friday, October 07, 2005

"NASA Website Analysis: A Changed Organizational Climate and Culture."

History of the Challenger disaster and investigation
After pulling up the homepage for the Challenger disaster, I was immediately impressed by the publication of both the NASA websites, as well as non-NASA websites regarding the tragedy. By doing this, NASA can ensure credibility and trust to the community by incorporating logical outside information. Personally, reading other people’s reflections on the incident often does not convey the tragic emotions of what really happened. As I read the transcript of the Challenger operational recorder voice tape, I had a better feel for the dramatic devastating disaster that occurred. I also learned that there were several warning points NASA could have picked up on, but overlooked them as a normal occurrence.

History of the Columbia disaster and investigation
I was immediately drawn to the photos of the Columbia after the incident occurred. Supplying these visuals helped me have a better understanding of what happened, as well as impacted my understanding the tragic loss that occurred. The foam impact velocity document, aided in my understanding of how the foam damaged the Columbia, as well as provided explicit descriptions for the public to understand the impact of the foam too. This document gave a clear description of what occurred and why.

Organizational culture and climate of NASA
The most important value I noted while reading Tompkins was the highly regarded “hands on experience.” After reviewing NASA’s jobs webpage, I observed that this value was no longer the number one enticement for working at NASA, now it seems its main focus is advertising the adventure and excitement of working in space. Also, Tompkins stressed that NASA was frequently looking for recent college graduates; this value still holds strong today as the website offers motivational courage to become one the team, as well as builds esteem designating recent graduates as the “generation that is going to lead the world.” Interestingly, NASA directly discloses to the public that the missions are risky and there is a possibility of failure- these two ideas are something NASA would have not admitted to the public since its commencement in 1958.