Crash: Boeing and the Power of Culture Cover Image

Crash: Boeing and the Power of Culture
Crash: Boeing and the Power of Culture

Author(s): Thomas D. Zweifel, Vip Vyas
Subject(s): Business Economy / Management, Culture and social structure , Business Ethics
Published by: Center for Socio-Economic Studies and Multiculturalism
Keywords: Boeing; megaprojects; culture; ethics; leadership;

Summary/Abstract: Two Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashed twice within six months, killing 167 and 189 passengers respectively. What was the root cause the two crashes had in common? This article finds that at its source, the problem was neither technical nor financial, but human. More precisely, the article makes the case that the failure of the Boeing 737MAX was a result of a corporate culture and mindset. As the management theorist Peter Drucker used to put it, culture eats strategy for breakfast: The most brilliant plans come to naught if the cultural force-field is aligned against them. Ultimately, Boeing is not alone. Building on an earlier finding that any organization is essentially a network of conversations (Zweifel, 2019), we argue that many, if not most, megaprojects (defined as major capital development projects with a budget of at least US$ 1 billion) suffer from a cultural context, consisting of conversations that run invisibly—and hence even more powerfully—in the background, in what we call the project’s “Black Box.” If megaproject stakeholders and managers are to steer megaprojects to success, they need an expanded “Dashboard” to monitor and manage these hidden factors along the entire megaproject process

  • Issue Year: 4/2021
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 13-25
  • Page Count: 13
  • Language: English