Hbs Mt. Everest Case Study Essay

1862 Words Feb 19th, 2013 8 Pages
HBS Case Review: Mt. Everest Case Study

Introduction
The case of Mt. Everest focuses on two commercial expeditions, Adventure Consultants and Mountain Madness, and the tragic event on May 10, 1996. These two commercial expeditions were lead by Rob Hall and Scott Fischer, and were consisted of 20 members. Both leaders were experienced climbers, but due to several factors, the expedition resulted into five deaths including Hall and Fischer. The event has thought managers to evaluate the importance of leadership together with its internal and external factors that managers should consider to survive in the high risk business world.

Case Study Questions
1) Why did this tragedy occur and what are the root causes of this disaster?
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Lack of psychological safety within the team members failed to fix cognitive bias of irrationality. If members developed trust within the team, cognitive bias could have been prevented or at least minimized. The truth that climbers might make irrational decisions and find it hard to turn back when they are so closed to the summit was obvious, but teammates seeing this problem did not speak up since they did not feel that their thoughts were welcome and felt uneasy. More cognitive biases could also been prevented to lessen the complex system of the expedition. Since climbing Mt. Everest is already a high risk venture, any additional problems such as irrational decisions can cause a crisis. Using the early sign of issues with Hall’s team’s progress, it was obvious that the probability of failing the expedition was high before the team even started. Hall could have used the issues as a sign of the complex systems that exist, and could have used this knowledge to prevent any irrational decisions. The complex systems and the lack of psychological safety also contributed to the tragedy. The team members failed to communicate and trust each other, which then added more problems to the complex systems. For instance, Boukreev’s could have spoken up to his team leader, Fischer, about his concerns regarding his team members lacking experience to begin with. By speaking up, he could have prevented more chain reaction due to lack of communications and feedback within the