This paper aims to investigate two famous disasters at sea, the Titanic and the Concordia, separated by 100 years, based on a comparison and analysis of those historical events, demonstrating how lessons learned and training methods used in the hazardous marine environments of aircraft carrier operations, as well as the near-solo conditions of technical scuba diving, can be better implemented in managing a large ship at sea.Design/methodology/approachThis study starts with a historical analysis of these two ship-wrecks, both large, technically advanced ships that sank due to poor leadership, a breakdown in command and panic. Next, the study compares and contrasts scuba with operations aboard an aircraft carrier, two different maritime scenarios, yet similar in that there are many hazards that may require split-second decisions with limited or no communication with others. Both these mind-sets and training approaches have direct application to leadership and disaster planning on a large ship by being focused on minimizing decisions under stress in order to reduce panic.FindingsThis study demonstrates the value and impact of training that minimizes decisions under stress and enable people to make decisions independently in the face of a loss of communications. Focusing on two famous naval accidents, our analysis shows how such training can prevent panic and disaster, and can have direct application to leadership and disaster planning on a large ship.Originality/valueThis study uniquely compares and contrasts many of the planning and decision-making strategies used for both aircraft carrier operations and technical scuba diving, and the need to be able to make split-second decisions without communicating to others, and how these approaches can be used to better train a commercial ship to respond to an unforeseen disaster at sea.
Journal of Management History – Emerald Publishing
Published: Mar 18, 2020
Keywords: Leadership; Management history; Decision-making; Responsibility; Intuition; Problem solving