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Boeing organizational culture change Case study

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Boeing organizational culture change Case study

Case Study: How Boeing Lost Its Way

Preparation

Review the following:

Dimensions of Organizational Culture

How Culture Is Created and Maintained

2.3 Identifying Ethical Issues

Your Assignment

First, read/watch the following:

How Boeing Lost Its Way

Relaxed F.A.A. Oversight At Root of Boeing’s Crisis

Congressional Report Faults Boeing on MAX Design, FAA for Lax Oversight

Next, based on what you read and watched, answer the following questions:

How did Boeing’s organizational culture change after it acquired McDonnell Douglas? Focus on 1–3 dimensions that are most prominent.

Symbols, one type of cultural artifact, reinforce organizational culture by conveying to employees who is important and the kinds of behavior that are expected and appropriate. By moving the company’s headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, what message did Boeing leaders convey?

Was Boeing’s decision to conceal the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) an ethical failure, cultural failure, or both? Explain.

One of the most common ethical dilemmas is conflict of interest. According to The Wall Street Journal article, the Congressional report reiterates earlier complaints by lawmakers that Boeing was able to exert undue influence over the FAA, partly because regulators delegated much of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing employees authorized to act on the government’s behalf. How is this situation a classic conflict of interest and what steps should have been taken to avoid it in the first place?

Boeing and the FAA agreed the MCAS’s software needed a major redesign, though the Congressional report indicates FAA officials allowed the plane to keep flying despite multiple prior certification blunders pertaining to the MAX. Making solid ethical decisions often requires moral courage. What are some likely reasons that the FAA did not show the moral courage to stand up to Boeing in the face of these safety concerns?

Write approximately 2–3 pages in total, using 12-point font, double-spacing, and one-inch margins.

Number your answer to each question.

Incorporate course concepts and include appropriate reasons, evidence, and/or examples as support for your position.

Demonstrate exceptional control of grammar, paragraph structure, punctuation, sentence construction, and spelling.

 

Answer Preview 

  1. How did Boeing’s organizational culture change after it acquired McDonnell Douglas? Focus on 1-3 dimensions that are most prominent.

After Boeing acquired McDonnell Douglas in 1997, the company’s organizational culture underwent several changes. One of the most prominent changes was in the dimension of power distance. Prior to the acquisition, Boeing had a relatively flat organizational structure, with a decentralized decision-making process. However, after the acquisition, the company’s structure became more hierarchical, with a centralized decision-making process. This change in power distance was evident in the way that decisions were made and communicated within the company, with a greater emphasis on top-down communication and less emphasis on employee input and participation.

Another dimension that changed was the company’s emphasis on innovation. Before the acquisition, Boeing was known for its innovation in technology and design. However, after the acquisition, the company’s focus shifted towards cost-cutting and efficiency, which resulted in a reduction in investment in research and development. This change in focus was evident in the way that the company’s resources were allocated, with a greater emphasis on reducing costs and increasing efficiency, and less emphasis on innovation and new product development.

A third dimension that changed was the company’s emphasis on safety. Before the acquisition, Boeing had a strong culture of safety, and the company was known for its rigorous safety standards. However, after the acquisition, the company’s emphasis on safety seemed to have diminished, as evidenced by the way that the company handled the development and certification of the 737 MAX.

  1. By moving the company’s headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, what message did Boeing leaders convey?

By moving the company’s headquarters from Seattle to Chicago in 2001, Boeing leaders conveyed several messages. One message was that the company was focused on cost-cutting and efficiency, as Chicago is known for its central location and lower business costs compared to Seattle. Another message was that the company was focused on expanding its reach and influence, as Chicago is a major transportation hub and a center of business and industry. Additionally, the move may have conveyed that the company was distancing itself from its roots and its history in Seattle, as the company has been headquartered in Seattle for nearly a century.

  1. Was Boeing’s decision to conceal the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) an ethical failure, cultural failure, or both? Explain.

Boeing’s decision to conceal the MCAS was both an ethical failure and a cultural failure. Ethically, the decision to conceal the MCAS was a failure because it put the safety of passengers at risk. The MCAS was designed to automatically correct the aircraft’s angle of attack in the event of a stall, but it was found to have a design flaw that could cause the aircraft to crash if it malfunctioned. By not disclosing this information to regulators or customers, Boeing put passengers at risk and disregarded the company’s ethical responsibility to ensure safety.

Culturally, the decision to conceal the MCAS was a failure because it reinforced the company’s culture of cost-cutting and efficiency over safety. By prioritizing cost-cutting and efficiency over safety, the company’s culture contributed to the decision to conceal the MCAS, and the subsequent accidents.

  1. How is this situation a classic conflict of interest and what steps should have been taken to avoid it in the first place?

The situation described in The Wall Street Journal article is a classic conflict of interest because Boeing was able to exert undue influence over the FAA, partly because regulators delegated much of their oversight responsibilities to Boeing employees authorized to act on the government’s behalf. This created a situation where the interests of the regulator (the FAA) and the regulated (Boeing) were not aligned

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