Goddard Space Flight Center: Building a Learning Organization (a)

20 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008

See all articles by James G. Clawson

James G. Clawson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

While reading the Wall Street Journal, Edward Rogers notices an advertisement for a Knowledge Management Architect at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Rogers is an academic whose scholarship centers on developing models of how and why people cooperate intellectually. After submitting his résumé and completing the interview process, Rogers is offered the position for a term appointment of three years. After one month on the job, Rogers wonders how he should proceed in helping the Goddard Space Flight Center become a learning organization. It is, in fact, the kind of opportunity Rogers has looked forward to for many years, but what will his plan of attack look like? How can he help this collection of rocket scientists work better together? The A case presents an undisguised picture of a NASA center that is fostering a learning approach to developing the organization. See also the B case (UVA-OB-0835).

Excerpt

UVA-OB-0833

GODDARD SPACE FLIGHT CENTER:

BUILDING A LEARNING ORGANIZATION (A)

While reading the Wall Street Journal, Edward Rogers noticed an advertisement for a Knowledge Management Architect at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Though he was not particularly looking for a job, he felt that this ad closely described the focus of his last 10 years of work. Rogers was an academic whose scholarship centered on developing models of how and why people cooperated intellectually. He had taught at Cornell, Duke, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville. The NASA position sounded like a marriage of many of Rogers's long-term interests. After submitting his resume and completing the interview process, Rogers was offered the position on a term appointment for three years. Following his first month of work, during June of 2003, Rogers was left with more questions than answers. Given the scope of NASA's projects, Rogers knew he had to have a road map but wondered what it would look like. Where would he start? What should he actually do?

NASA Centers and Project Eras

NASA was created on October 1, 1958, and under the Kennedy administration was assigned the job of putting a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. The organization was headquartered in Washington, D.C. with 10 centers located around the country—each with different mission responsibilities and capabilities. All centers worked together to accomplish NASA's vision and missions. The President of the United States appointed NASA Administrators, and George W. Bush appointed Sean O'Keefe as the 10th administrator on December 21, 2001. O'Keefe was responsible for leading the agency and managing NASA's resources. With a strong financial management background (former chief financial officer at the Department of Defense and deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget), he came with a mandate to reform financial management at the agency. Testifying before Congress O'Keefe said, “Cultural change is required.”

. . .

Keywords: action planning, organizational culture, organizational development, organizational problems, management change

Suggested Citation

Clawson, James G. and Yemen, Gerry, Goddard Space Flight Center: Building a Learning Organization (a). Darden Case No. UVA-OB-0833. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=911137

James G. Clawson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/clawson.htm

Gerry Yemen

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

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