Essay 1996 Everest Case Study

2052 Words Nov 17th, 2008 9 Pages
Introduction: This case study focuses on two mountaineering companies, Adventure Consultants and Mountain Madness, and what went wrong on May 10, 1996, when a total of five climbers from these two teams died while on a final summit push on Mount Everest. Even more troubling is the fact that two of these people, Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, were the leaders of the companies, and each had impressive experience on Everest. Many factors combined to create this tragedy, including weather, varying ability of climbers, and sickness. However, one glaring error no the part of each company’s leadership stands out as a decision that may very well have cost all five lives: Neither Hall nor Fisher established or enforced a turnaround time for …show more content…
In deciding to abandon the turnaround time, each leader made a costly mistake by turning what should have been a programmed decision into a nonprogrammed one. In management theory, programme decisions are routine ones for which a manger has an established rule, whereas nonprogrammed new and complex decisions that require novel or creative solutions (Sniderman et al., 2007, p. 242). The decision to settle on and adhere to a strict turnaround time was arguably the most important rule that the leaders should have implemented and enforced within their teams. Hall himself had turned back a climber named Doug Hanson just 300 feet from the summit the previous year because they had reached the turnaround time; on this summit attempt, Hall and Hansen reached the summit by 4pm, and died while trying attempting a descent. Fisher ignored his own health problems and pushed his clients upward past the generally-accepted turnaround time as well. In pushing for the summit in this way, one may argue that Fisher and Hall’s decisions were based on the Intuitive Decision-Making Model over the Rational Decision-Making Model, which would have taken into account risks such as loss of life and loss of future business in calculating the costs and benefits of going further. If the competition and media scrutiny played

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