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Nasa Developmental Plans

Essay by   •  March 26, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,047 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,398 Views

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After learning about NASA as an organization, gaining an understanding of NASA decision-making and planning process is a perquisite in discussing the changes that may affect the organization externally and internally. "The realization that many failures have systemic causes has widened the scope of many mishap investigations. Organizations, including NASA [...] have responded by starting research and training initiatives to ensure that their personnel are well equipped to meet these challenges" (Johnson & Holloway, 2003, p. 1133). Various incidents required decision-makers to incorporate a tactic known as environmental scanning. Brown and Weiner (1985, as cited in Morrison, 1992) define "environmental scanning as 'a kind of radar to scan the world systematically and signal the new, the unexpected, the major, and the minor'" (p. ix, para. 3). In NASA's case, environmental scanning provides a security approach toward making decisions and planning for the present and the future of the organization. NASA must actively scan its environment through formal searching to obtain information and developments for specific purposes (Morrison). The process for NASA's environmental scanning procedure may include an internal and external analysis. Conducting the external and internal analysis may increase organizational effectiveness and decision-making.

External Analysis

The first step in the environmental scanning process is to understand the external environment through external analysis (Morrison, 1992). NASA preparation of gaining congressional support may have consisted of minimal external analysis. However, to ensure all external factors have been analyzed, NASA must gain a full understanding of all areas of the external environment like scanning, monitoring, forecasting, and assessing (Morrison).

First, NASA must scan and monitor the environment "to identify changing trends and patterns" (Morrison, 1992, para. 7). This first step assists NASA in the planning process toward gaining congressional support for the future. The scanning and monitoring process allows NASA to scan and monitor what is currently going on that affects the organization internally and externally such as "correct serious organizational and technical deficiencies, complete International Space Stations, transition for the space shuttle vehicle to the next generation crew exploration vehicle (CEV), and improve integrated NASA financial" (Inspector General, 2005, p. 1). NASA must monitor each area before beginning the assessment process. When NASA monitors the external factors, decision-makers are able to outline trends and patterns that could affect the organization positively or negatively. The aforementioned areas are critical to explore and overcome before developing a spacecraft and launching the craft into space.

Finally, once NASA scans the different external elements that may affect the organization, NASA must "forecast the future direction of the different changes and patterns" and "assess their organizational impact" (Morrison, para. 7). Upon noticing how the scanned areas may affect the organization, NASA predicts the direction it needs to take to operate effectively and incorporate new programs and spacecrafts. Adhering to the different external elements presented in the scanning and monitoring process prepares NASA for success because many of the negative and positive trends and patterns are disclosed. NASA forecast disclose possible threats to future programs like NASA's Phoenix Mission, which is currently facing thermal threats. The NASA Phoenix Mars Lander Mission is a program designed to study the "history of water and inhabitability potential in the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil" (Bass, 2007, para. 1). The program uses a robotic device that collects soil for NASA to study; however, the robotic device must maintain a certain temperature for effective operation. Effectively scanning and monitoring the Martian

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