Apollo 13 Movie Case Study

Apollo 13 Case Study Essay

2349 WordsJul 12th, 201310 Pages

Leadership Theories Analysis using the movie Apollo 13

Vision and Value
Apollo 13 demonstrates the richness of leadership principles and values, especially focusing on team solidity. The movie illustrates how the leaders can develop a vision and values, and how the teams can collaborate under high stress situation.
In the beginning of the movie the vision of the Apollo 13 project was to land the astronaut’s on the surface of moon. But the unexpected explosion in the service module created a “Do or die” situation for the team. The vision of the project is suddenly changed to getting the astronaut’s back on earth safely. NASA had a common goal that was strongly set in the minds of each engineers and they are well aware of the cost of a…show more content…

It is a technically sound movie, which is giving situational experience. Leadership skills such as effective communication and teamwork are creatively incorporated in the movie. The director, Ron Howard, attempted to make this movie as realistic as possible using direct interaction from the space station and recreating the actual NASA mission control center in Huston.
In the beginning of the movie, it was just a normal space craft launch until the explosion happened in the service module. At that instant, the ground team shifted the goal from mission completion to getting the astronaut’s back alive. That uncertainty created a lot of space for innovation and creativity. It’s a new challenge for both the teams. Once the return itself was a difficult task, each segment of the original plan had to be redefined to serve an alternative plan. That gives an opportunity for the engineers to think creatively and out of the box. Everything in the space shuttle became a potential problem-solving material, when the engineers were asked to design a carbon dioxide filter that the Apollo 13 astronauts could make with available resources. They even consider socks, plastic bags etc. for making the CO2 filter. Freezing temperatures, illness and thirstiness were accepted to store the energy that would be needed for the re-entry.
The sudden and the severe

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The Problem Solving Method



talented, capable, experienced, and effective people to Leadership, Tasks & Projects. You must have trained and responsible people, or you will jeopardizeany endeavor – in business or space. NASA had the ‘brightest & best’.



for the inevitiable problems that will occur with your equipmentand with processes, and oh yes, even with people. After all, we know that …“Stuff Happens”. And whether flying through outer space or office space,every endeavor will experience two Classes of Problems to prepare for:

normal, ANTICIPATED problems due to the ordinary expected situations,or the systems which have failed in the past. You should have alreadydeveloped, documented & trained with specific procedures andsolutions. But there is also a second kind,

2) new, UN-ANTICIPATED situations or system failures which have nevercome up before, and for which there is no specific solution prepared …yet. Apollo 13 experienced one.


, even the ‘unknown problems’ can still be prepared for with capablepeople, extensive system knowledge, and the proper problem solvingmethodology.



When any problem comes up, you must

define thedesired final outcome


"If you don't know where you are going, youmight wind up someplace else." - Yogi Berra There are Three Outcomes to Problems:


Business as usual



a documented standard proceduralsolution to the problem. This reflects an efficient, successfulbusiness. Or,


A new or adapted mission outcome.

The 1st-ever explosion of the Apollo 13 Oxygen tank was completely unforeseen. At thatpoint, the original mission to the Moon was scrubbed, and a


,revised Outcome was to just return the 3-man crew safely to Earth.And then afterwards,

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