The Space Shuttles Explosion and Crash and Group Think (management think).
The affect of dialectic 'reasoning' in real time.

This was all brought to my attention by Steve Goss who revealed in his speeches that the consensus process being used in the space program and the two space shuttle "accidents" were connected.

 Following quoted from regarding the space shuttle Challenger explosion on January 28, 1986.

Irving Janis, Yale social psychologist, defines groupthink as a consensus-seeking tendency. He originally defined groupthink as ‘‘a mode of thinking that people engage in when they are deeply involved in a cohesive in-group, when the members' strivings for unanimity override their motivation to realistically appraise alternative courses of action." According to his definition, groupthink occurs only when cohesiveness is high. It requires that members share a strong ‘‘we-feeling" of solidarity and desire to maintain relationships within the group at all costs. When colleagues operate in a groupthink mode, they automatically apply the 'preserve group harmony' test to every decision they face."  5. Self-Censorship....instead of clearly stating ‘‘I recommend we don't ...," offered an equivocal opinion.  6.  Illusion of interpreted silence as agreement."  7. Direct Pressure on Dissenters. ‘‘take off his engineering hat and put on his management hat." Third Edition of A First Look at Communication Theory by Em Griffin, Ó 1997, McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Statements made at meeting prior to launch. Source: Report of the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Volume 4 ( with the following: the PRESIDENTIAL COMMISSION on the Space Shuttle Challenger Accident Chapter V: The Contributing Cause of The Accident quoted below.

The issue was whether to launch or not, the Thiokol engineers (Arnold Thompson and Roger Boisjoly ) said "No" (it was cold overnight and still cold at launch time, i.e. to cold for the O-rings to adjust and seal the buster rockets) but were overruled by management for the sake of the space program (the schedule, i.e. money).  The following is the transcript of how decisions were made to launch by management, overruling the facts (the engineers), which resulted in the "accident."  "Team playing" overruled facts and truth.

At that time Joe Kilminster requested a five minute off-net caucus, and that caucus lasted approximately 30 minutes.

The teleconference was recessed at approximately 10:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. The off-net caucus of Thiokol personnel started and continued for about 30 minutes at the Wasatch office. The major issues, according to the testimony of Jerry Mason, Senior Vice President for Wasatch Operations, were the effect of temperature upon the O-rings and the history of erosion of the O-rings: 12

Mr. Mason: Now, in the caucus we revisited all of our previous discussions, and the important things that came out of that was that, as we had recognized, we did have the possibility that the primary O-ring might be slower to move into the seating position and that was our concern, and that is what we had focused on originally.

The fact that we couldn't show direct correlation with the O-ring temperature was discussed, but we still felt that there was some concern about it being colder.

We then recognized that, if the primary did move more slowly, that we could get some blow-by and erosion on the primary. But we had pointed out to us in that caucus a point that had not come across clearly in our earlier discussions, and that is that we had run tests where we deliberately cut large pieces out of the O-rings to see what the threshold of sealing was, and we found we could go to 125 thousandths of a cut out of the O-ring and it would still seal.

Approximately 10 engineers participated in the caucus, along with Mason, Kilminster, C. G. Wiggins (Vice President, Space Division), and Lund. Arnold Thompson and Boisjoly voiced very strong objections to launch, and the suggestion in their testimony was that Lund was also reluctant to launch:13

Mr. Boisjoly: Okay, the caucus started by Mr. Mason stating a management decision was necessary. Those of us who opposed the launch continued to speak out, and I am specifically speaking of Mr. Thompson and myself because in my recollection he and I were the only ones that vigorously continued to oppose the launch. And we were attempting to go back and rereview and try to make clear what we were trying to get across, and we couldn't understand why it was going to be reversed. So we spoke out and tried to explain once again the effects of low temperature. Arnie actually got up from his position which was down the table, and walked up the table and put a quarter pad down in front of the table, in front of the management folks, and tried to sketch out once again what his concern was with the joint, and when he realized he wasn't getting through, he just stopped.

I tried one more time with the photos. I grabbed the photos, and I went up and discussed the photos once again and tried to make the point that it was my opinion from actual observations that temperature was indeed a discriminator and we should not ignore the physical evidence that we had observed .

And again, I brought up the point that SRM- 15 [Flight 51 -C, January, 1985] had a 110 degree arc of black grease while SRM-22 [Flight 61-A, October, 1985] had a relatively different amount, which was less and wasn't quite as black. I also stopped when it was apparent that I couldn't get anybody to listen.

Dr. Walker: At this point did anyone else speak up in favor of the launch?

Mr. Boisjoly: No, sir. No one said anything, in my recollection, nobody said a word. It was then being discussed amongst the management folks. After Arnie and I had [93] our last say, Mr. Mason said we have to make a management decision. He turned to Bob Lund and asked him to take off his engineering hat and put on his management hat. From this point on, management formulated the points to base their decision on. There was never one comment in favor, as I have said, of launching by any engineer or other nonmanagement person in the room before or after the caucus. I was not even asked to participate in giving any input to the final decision charts.

I went back on the net with the final charts or final chart, which was the rationale for launching, and that was presented by Mr. Kilminster. It was hand written on a notepad, and he read from that notepad. I did not agree with some of the statements that were being made to support the decision. I was never asked nor polled, and it was clearly a management decision from that point.

I must emphasize, I had my say, and I never [would] take [away] any management right to take the input of an engineer and then make a decision based upon that input, and I truly believe that. I have worked at a lot of companies, and that has been done from time to time, and I truly believe that, and so there was no point in me doing anything any further than I had already attempted to do.

I did not see the final version of the chart until the next day. I just heard it read. I left the room feeling badly defeated, but I felt I really did all I could to stop the launch.

Columbia Shuttle Accident: quoted from Columbia Accident Investigation Board Report Excerpts By Staff posted: 10:00 am ET 26 August 2003

Cultural traits and organizational practices detrimental to safety were allowed to develop, including: reliance on past success as a substitute for sound engineering practices (such as testing to understand why systems were not performing in accordance with requirements); organizational barriers that prevented effective communication of critical safety information and stifled professional differences of opinion; lack of integrated management across program elements; and the evolution of an informal chain of command and decision-making processes that operated outside the organization's rules.