20% felt their actions resulted in positive changes
More than 50% (of responders) would do it again
Case Study: Challenger
January 28, 1986
Space Shuttle Challenger
exploded 72 seconds into
its flight, killing all 7 crew
The flight received much media
attention because a teacher, Christa
McAuliffe, was on board.
Case Study - Challenger
Challenger: What Went Wrong
Explosion caused by O-ring failure between segments of the booster rockets.
Several employees of the manufacturer, Thiokol, had been aware of the O-ring deficiencies.
No one listened to the engineers who knew about the problem
Challenger: Major Players
Roger Boisjoly, seal specialist at Thiokol
Directed task force for a year to study the evidence that hot gases eroded O-rings
Allan McDonald, manager of solid-rocket motor program
Larry Mulloy, NASA official, manager of booster programs
George Hardy, NASA official
July 31, 1985
Boisioly wrote a memo saying, “it is my honest and very real fear that if we do not take immediate action to solve the problem [the company could] stand in jeopardy of losing a flight.”
No conclusive evidence to back up memo
January 27, 1986, the day before lift-off
McDonald was worried about temperatures dropping to 22 degrees overnight.
14 engineers “fought like hell” to get permission to present to NASA
All 14 Thiokol engineers recommended postponing the launch
Mulloy and Hardy challenged the recommendation
Mulloy: “When do you want me to launch, next April?”
Hardy: recommendation “appalled” him
Thiokol: Management reversed the recommendation for postponement
After the explosion
Demoted by management
Public outcry and Congressional investigation led to a reversal of that decision and a promotion instead
Became spokesman for Thiokol and new rocket boosters
“ I hope and pray that I have not risked my job and family security by being honest in my conviction”
Never worked on a shuttle again because it was too painful
Wondered if there was more he could have done, even though the record shows he minced no words
Reassigned by management with altered responsibilities
Took leave of absence, a year later went on disability
Boisjoly sued Thiokol for $1 billion in personal suit
Dismissed because Thiokol’s actions were ruled not to have been designed to cause him distress
Biosjoly sued Thiokol for $2 billion under False Claims Act
Filed on premise that Thiokol falsely certified safety and knew that the rockets they supplied to NASA were defective
Dismissed in 1988: Judge ruled that decision to launch was not a false claim, but an engineering judgment with which other engineers disagreed, and that NASA also knew the facts behind the allegations, and was not deceived
What effects did Boisjoly and McDonald face when they blew the whistle?
Why did NASA not listen to the engineers?
Why did Thiokol to reverse its decision even though they knew it was incorrect?
Would you have blown the whistle differently than Boisjoly and McDonald? If so, how?
Did McDonald go public at the right time?
Case Study- Satyendra Dubey
The Golden Quadrilateral(Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkotta & Chennai)...
the end of the road for Satyendra Dubey.
Case Study- Satyendra Dubey
A 31 year old IIT – Kanpur Civil Engineering graduate.
Employee of National Highways Authority of India.
Assigned Prime Minister’s pet project – The Golden Quadrilateral, to connect the four corners of India.
Was posted at Koderma, Jharkhand as project director he would be in charge of releasing funds for an extensive swathe of the under-construction highway.
Findings in the Golden Quadrilateral Project
Sloppy project reports
Contracts awarded on basis of forged documents
Huge advances doled out to contractors
Rampant subletting to petty contractors who lacked the technical ability to work on this mega-project(Dubey discovered that the contracted firm, Larsen & Toubro, had been subcontracting the actual work to smaller low-technology groups, controlled by the local mafia).
Everyone from Govt. engineers to MNC construction companies to local thugs seemed involved in “LOOT OF PUBLIC MONEY”
Wrote a letter to his boss, NHAI Project Director SK Soni, and to Brig Satish Kapoor, engineer overlooking the supervision, there was no action.
Wrote a letter to the PM
Dubey also sent the same letter to the chairman of NHAI.
Mr. Dubey anticipated trouble and wrote a second letter, again requesting anonymity but was ignored.
What did Dubey do?
The Blind/ Deaf Effect
The PMO didn’t bother either to investigate
For in an act of murderous negligence, the PMO handed over both the letter and the sheet with Satyendra’s particulars to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
At least eight officials scanned it before passing it on to the National Highway Authority of India.
In 2003, Dubey was found dead in Gaya…
Whistle Blowing Murder
Almost 50,000 citizens have signed a petition demanding action from the government
The media is closely monitoring the twists and turns taken by an increasingly bizarre investigation
As for the GQ project, Supreme Court is still investigating
The Whistle Blower Resolution
The Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions notified a resolution, empowering the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) to act on the complaints of whistle-blowers and to protect them.
Through the resolution, the government authorised the CVC to act as the `designated agency' to receive written complaints of
Role of the CVC
The CVC has announced that it has the responsibility of keeping the identity of the complainant secret, even though it cannot stop the complainant himself from disclosing his identity or making the complaint public.
However, the complainant should comply to certain parameters:
The complaint should be in a closed/secured envelope;
The envelope should be superscribed "Complaint under The Public Interest Disclosure" and the complainant's name and address should not be written on the envelope, but in an attached letter along with the complaint;
Role of CVC
The Commission will not entertain anonymous complaints;
The text of the complaint should be carefully drafted so as not to give any details or clue about the complainant's identity
Whistle-blowers are advised not to enter into any correspondence with the Commission seeking acknowledgement, which it will not issue, as a precaution; however, the Commission will get in touch with the complainant if any clarification is required.
The CVC, under the resolution, is also expected to ascertain from the complainant whether he or she was the person who made the complaint.
But loopholes exist…
Resolution is silent on how the agency would find out if complaint is motivated
No clarity on what “appropriate” steps would be taken against such a complainant
Many individuals have exemplified Whistle Blowing…
2002: Year of the Whistleblower Cynthia Cooper WorldCom Coleen Rowley FBI Sherron Watkins Enron
Former Vice President of Enron Corporation
Alerted then-CEO Ken Lay in August 2001 to accounting irregularities within the company
Warned that Enron 'might implode in a wave of accounting scandals.'
Testified before Congressional Committees from the House and Senate investigating Enron's demise.
Lauded in the press for her courageous actions, but left her job at Enron after a few months when she wasn't given much to do
FBI staff attorney
Wrote 13-page memo to FBI Director about pre-9/11 intelligence in May 2002
Testified for the Senate Judiciary Committee
Concerned the FBI was becoming more bureaucratic and micromanaged
Helped government focus on better intelligence management
WorldCom’s Director of Internal Audit
Her team discovered $3 billion in questionable expenses
Met with 4 executives to track down and explain the undocumented expenses
Disclosed findings, WorldCom stock frozen, corporate credit rating went from B+ to CCC-
Remained as VP of Internal Audit, not promoted, no gratitude, resented by employees