1.                  Communication: the communication itself didn't trigger the situation, but in a critical situation such this, the communication adds a strong source of conflict. This video shows only a small content related with communication. This filter does not help to develop a fair evaluation. For example, between the problem recognition and the acceptance of the potential solution, the film simplifies the communication showing a simplified and orderly summary. I think the brainstorming looking for the potential solution requires a lot of dialogue and communication, and this brainstorming process under this critical situation is a perfect source of conflict that a good leader could help to manage.  

If we refer only in what we can see in this five minutes (where I can see a problem, but a conflict as per conflict definition), the conclusion is that the communication is orderly, timing contented, sequential, without more words that the necessary to achieve the perfect solution . such as in a Hollywood's movie! This development of the communication minimizes the potential conflict that it could generate.

Once Huston found the solution, there is not more communication, simply Huston transmit a special procedure that the astronauts must follow. This degree of procedure at NASA (authority) does not allow communication. Here, the potential conflict is very small, the astronauts must follow the rules.

 

2.                  Size and specialization: both size and specialization seem to be correct looking for the solution to the problem. Again, the film does not show the brainstorming process inside the team and it gives the idea that all was developed in a complete harmony and without any conflict. The control chain looks to be correct, the leader, three manager and then seven people looking for the solution. The leader showing the correct skills to lead under this critical situation, the managers with the correct skills in the interpretation of the problem, ideas, motivation of the team, focus in solution, and finally execution. At this level the size has a low impact as conflict generation; the specialization could have a higher degree of source of conflict.

Finally, we have the team with the correct skills to quickly understand the problem and produce a solution. At the discussion level looking for the solution, the size and specialization has a huge potential source of conflict.

For the point of view of source of conflicts, what we can see in these five minutes is that all these skilled people work together, aiming the commitment and effort in the same direction for the achievement of the goals.

 

3.                  Ambiguity of rules and situation: the problem was very narrow, extremely very well defined (high level of CO2); this gives the advantage of few or null ambiguity of the situation. For the rules point of view, there is not place for any ambiguity at NASA control mission. NASA processes are extremely very well defined for cases such this. The processes establish rules, hierarchies, followers, and leaders. There is not place for ambiguity and the film shows that.   

If these rules were not established at priori, they have a huge impact as conflict generation in this critical situation.

 

4.                  Leadership style: the leader behaviour was to show that he had the situation under control, although the huge risk that they have. The leader shows calm, confidence, and gives clear directions, all things that are necessaries in this critical moment. It is necessary to stress that NASA trains the mission control leaders to respond the most correctly possible under this kind of situation, as well as managers to follow directions (but it could fail, such the Challenger Space Shuttle explosion had demonstrated). 

The leader did the correct under this critical situation asking for help and giving the correct direction defining the problem, maintaining an open communication during the critical situation, looking the big picture but without losing the details. 

The role of the leader has one of the biggest impacts as facilitator of conflict in this critical situation. Again, NASA trains people for dealing under this potential critical situation.

 

5.                  Diversity of goals: the goal is narrow and very well defined. The situation that could produce a diversity of goals and potential conflict is not shown in these five minutes of the film. Most of the shown situation follows the rule that the control chain is respected. But the brainstorming looking for a solution with the available elements for the astronauts has a huge potential source of conflict for the different points of view and the diversity of goal that it could generate. Because it was not shown in the film, only we can see the narrow diversity of goals. For the point of view of the astronauts, they only follow the procedure. 

This diversity has a high potential level in the discussion of the group, but low at other stages.

 

6.                  Interdependence: the astronauts have a huge dependence of the Houston people; there is not room for conflict in a critical situation. In addition, processes at NASA establish rules in the decision making process hierarchy and dependent groups. At Huston, we can see in the film a similar relationship of hierarchy and dependence between the people how participates. The group on charge of finding the solution could be a more independent group of people with more prone to generate conflict through opposite forces in the brainstorming process.

   

 

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19/05/11