Teaching Case - Audrey Simmons and the FAA

Audrey Simmons and the FAA


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  • Product Description

    The National Aviation Facilities Experimental Center (NAFEC), a facility of the FAA located in a community afflicted with high unemployment, particularly among minorities, was reputed to be reluctant to hire local residents. After five months on the job, Audrey Simmons, chief of the civil rights staff, organized a Black Recognition Day, during which awards would be given to a number of national figures and to George Smith, the (white) director of NAFEC, for their contributions to civil rights and equal employment opportunity. The day before the ceremony, a delegation from the community demanded that NAFEC cancel the ceremony and the award to Smith. Discussion of this case raises questions of what situations require a public manager to be a "heat shield"--absorbing pressure from both internal and external groups to prevent a blow-up--the problems that may create, and how they can be alleviated and learned from by "conducting" the heat (on to other branches of the agency, for example).

    Learning Objective:
    The case discussion may also focus on the pitfalls of formulating objectives without considering the total context in which a manager operates. The notion here is that managers need to fashion their strategies with a triangular relationship in mind-objectives, external support, and internal capacity--and to keep their goals in careful balance with the changing degree of external support and their internal capacity to deliver.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1981
    Teaching Plan: Available with Educator Access
    HKS Case Number: 407.0
    Case Author: Beth Dehamel
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 5
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
  • Warranty Information

    /review/407.0.EducatorCopy.pdf, /teachingplan/407_2.pdf