The Abilene Paradox Analysis

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The purpose of this post is to discuss the role that personal responsibility plays in organizations. It is also to discuss whether the concept of organizational grace is a feasible concept while using the J.B. Harvey story of Captain Asoh in The Abilene Paradox as frame of reference for the discussion. In Harvey’s story of Captain Asoh, Harvey (1988) tells the reader about an airline pilot, Captain Asoh who in error lands his plane two miles short of the runway thus ending up in the San Francisco Bay. Although Asoh was short of the runway, he was able to land the plane expertly with no injury to passengers or crew. Standard National Transportation Safety Board procedures called for a hearing however. As soon as the hearing began, Captain…show more content…
The acceptance of personal responsibility can allow a manger to place emphasis for training or counseling where it is needed versus taking the long route to a solution for all. This speaks to the Captain Asoh story and how he avoided a long drawn out hearing to find the reason for his failure by simply accepting personal blame for the mishap. Had he not done this, it may have been days or weeks before the NTSB would come to the same conclusion using their own process. While organizations are usually large entities, Debbie believes that it is sometimes overlooked that the large entity is comprised of individuals. When individual behaviors or failures can be addressed, there is opportunity for specific and directed solutions to be had. Harvey then discusses the concept or organizational grace, explained as divine forgiveness. Harvey points out that being on the receiving end of this divine forgiveness is not typical for today’s organizations with a “zero-defect” mentality. Although, Captain Asoh’s story does impart a hope of weaving this mentality into most organizations of today (Harvey, 1988). Harvey notes that the ancillary effects of grace are risk taking, innovation, reality testing, and community building, all positive reasons to consider the concept of organizational
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