This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
It involves complexities of organisational life for the making of Hubble telescope. There were many factors involved in failure of Hubble Telescope. Firstly, the project design of NASA was not proper with unrealistic schedule and funding. They didn’t take into account the uncertainties of the project that it might produce during the course of action. The safety measures were not taken care off as employee falls through the wooden slats. Scapegoating was going on as the Rigby and his crew were blamed for the fundamental error. Interorganisational pressures affects the working of the project. Congress tightens funds and eliminates the extra cost involved and puts the Perkin-Elmer in a cost limit. This affects the quality of the product as quality bows to cost. The long hours working of the workers affects the health and performance of the workers. The values of the organisation culture shifts from the science to the management. The Hubble case is a tragedy. The central character is both organisation and people. All are flawed and flaws lead to disaster. The most obvious point focuses on the action of the technicians who inserted three 20 washers into the 1$ million null corrector. In a rush, they moved lens 1.3mm closer to the mirror than prescribed. As a result, all of the subsequent measurements using null corrector were based on 13 inch ruler. If Rigby and his crew were to use faulty null corrector for eleven months, clearly someone would point out an abnormal reading some time. It turns out be that Perkin-Elmer had many chances to catch the problem. Unfortunately, Company missed all of them. As a result, we can see the Self Sealing character of this organisation as another fundamental root cause of the problem. The company was not taking the negative feedback as the inspiration to learn many new things instead they were hiding the errors or mistakes they used to make during the project. Fuller was told focus on safety issues rather than quality of the product which ultimately affected the final outcome. Rehnberg, The head of the division doesn’t react to the scientist recommendation to conduct an independent test near the end of the project. Finally, Meserve and Jones, the project manager and his deputy, denied the final review of the mirror that Rigby wanted.
Here Perkin-Elmer went to NASA to ask for $272 million instead of $70 but they denied this proposal and asked them to stick to the original budget or else they will lose the whole project. While this cost pressure accounts for the technicians initial error and scientists and manager inability to find it in later stage.
By 1969, the Perkin-Elmer Corporation employed more than 3000 people and was a leading manufacturer of advanced optics and scientific instruments. After getting contract of NASA, the problem was that it couldn’t withstand new management sophistication which was supported matrix structure and variety of executive development programs. Initial passion of founder was for science. The passion was lost in the company’s quest to meet restricted budget, schedules and competition. The passionate purpose dies if it is blended with dispassionate analysis and control. The coordination among the employees become less because of lack of passion. When this happens routinization brings stagnation, deception brings chaos and the organisation sometimes dies. It is the understanding that excellence and failure both emerge from judgement in combining values. Managerial leadership requires cognitive and behavioural complexity.The tragedy of Hubble case make us to learn about the conflict present in the organisation and then understanding the conflict to make things right. The organisation facing this kind of tragedy should go for transformation. It will bring stability through change and commitment through purpose. Transformation brings new vision, transformation, empowerment and other issues of the organisation built on passion, trust, relationship and purpose. This will help this organisation with Hubble error tragedy to enhance its organisational commitment and stability.