TECH 4850-SEMINAR IN ADMINISTRATIVE AND TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT
DR. CHRISTIE BURTON
CASE STUDIES: MOUNT EVEREST
MICHAEL A. ROBERTO AND GINA M. CARIOGGIA
Indeed it was an awesome tragedy that the world saw in the curvaceous terrain of Mount Everest in May of 1996. This tragedy claimed the lives of 15 mountaineering adventurers, while ninety-eight men and women who embarked on this venture achieved a remarkable fit of reaching the summit. Among these incredible men and women were Rob Hall and Scott Fischer known to be the world’s renowned high-altitude climbers. Unfortunately, Hall and Fischer with three others were among the dead.
Putting Mount Everest in ...view middle of the document...
Over the years many more climbers have been able to reach the summit, and many countless numbers of people have lost their lives.
The 1996 expedition of Mount Everest was a commercial venture. Hall charged an exorbitant fee of $65,000 for each of his clients. Scott Fischer and Rob Hall were the leaders of two largest expeditions out of thirty expeditions that were scheduled to climb Mount Everest in 1996. There were multiple causes of the 1996 Everest catastrophe; these include remote and immediate causes. The remote causes include: the logistical problem which includes the Russian Customs, which hampered the supply of oxygen canisters to Nepal, and the delivery of high-altitude tent due to problem with the chartered plane; the problem of polluted air and the less than perfect sanitary conditions that produced a devastating respiratory and digestive problems also came to play. Many of the clients were ill-prepared for the ascent. It should be noted that logistical problems messed up Fischer’s acclimatization schedule, and had adversely affected his physical ability, yet he ignored this vital sign. Added to the acclimatization problem was that his health has deteriorated, and his limited communication with the rest of the pack. The use of antiquated radios was problematic. This problem incapacitated his ability to lead. The indecision to turnaround time in order to avoid dangerous situation was not strictly adhered to. It is remarkable that Fischer used a lot of time in the resolution of these unexpected contingencies which affected his planning strategy, his organization, his leadership, and his controlling; which is necessary for the successful existence of any organization. Applying the controlling aspect of the management function entails the responsibility of monitoring the team and to make amendments for the progress. Also lack of planning was also a factor to the tragic event at Mount Everest in 1996. Planning is a fundamental function of management. Planning would have helped him marshal out the team’s conduct and to familiarize himself with the weather condition on high-altitude. The importance of planning both for an individual, and for an organization cannot be overemphasized. According to Williams (2014), “Planning offers several benefits: intensified effort, persistence, direction, and creation of task strategies.” (p. 87).
The climbers were equally to blame for the tragedy for failing to point out the deteriorating physical condition of Fischer. No member of the team had the courage to point to that he is incapable of leading. Many things went wrong; many of the climbers needed to get to the summit just to satisfy their personal self-aggrandizement. The authors noted that “Pittman needed to ascend Everest to complete her quest; she had failed in two earlier attempts to reach the summit.” Fischer on his part wanted Pitman just for promotion, although he knew that many of the skilled climbers detest the reckless abandon with...