Challenger: Fine-Tuning the Odds Until Something Breaks
Journal of Management Studies, vol. 25, no. 4, pp. 319-340, 1988
21 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: 1988
The Challenger disaster illustrates the effects of repeated successes, gradual acclimatization, and the differing responsibilities of engineers and managers. Past successes and acclimatization alter decision-makers' beliefs about probabilities of future success. Fine-tuning processes result from engineers' and managers' pursuing partially inconsistent goals while trying to learn from their experiences. Fine-tuning reduces probabilities of success, and it continues until a serious failure occurs.
Keywords: learning from experience, intraorganizational politics, success, fine-tuning
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