Boeing: The 737 Max Crisis
(4 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
In March 2019, Boeing's 737 MAX aircraft was grounded across the globe following its second crash in five months. Investigations concluded that the sensor in the planes’ Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) had failed, leading both aircraft to nosedive downward, crashing and killing all aboard. The public was confused as to how this engineering error occurred, given Boeing's strong history of aerospace achievements. The case traces the main developments in the aircraft manufacturing industry and Boeing’s organizational changes over time. How could these changes have affected events leading up to the two 737 MAX crashes?
The case provides an understanding of Boeing's history, and its cultural and environmental changes over time. This case is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in operations management, such as corporations & society, learning through action, and leading people and organizations. After working through the case and assignment questions, students will be able to
- explore the tensions between development cost and product safety;
- examine the role of a regulatory body in product development;
- draw insights regarding how organizational changes could have affected events leading up to the two 737 MAX crashes;
- explain the effect of market competition on consumer surplus and product safety; and
- assess the importance of organizational culture in creating a quality product.
United States, Large, 2019
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