The Development of the B-52 and Jet Propulsion:
A Case Study in Organizational Innovation
National security decision makers face an uncertain world where the accelerated growth of knowledge has changed the character of technological advance and destabilized long-standing relations within and among the military services. Dr Mandeles separates the principles that guide decision making from the proverbs through a case study of decision making in the early post-World War II period. This study examines the impact of organization on the invention and development of jet propulsion-in the form of the B-52-and illustrates both the organizational conditions conducive to developing new operational concepts and the organizational innovations necessary to implement new technology. This study also examines how the Air Force organized to learn and acquire new technology, how the Air Force conceived or identified problems, and how it organized to ensure management would respond to program failure or errors. Attention is devoted to the origins of the weapons system operational requirement, the initial concept of operation, the evolution of technology, organizational structure, and implementation.
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