Logos President Launches Crisis Management Elective at Columbia Engineering
Logos Consulting Group is pleased to note that Logos President Helio Fred Garcia has launched a new elective, Advanced Leadership: Crisis Management for Engineers, for graduate students at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, also known as Columbia Engineering.
Garcia has been an adjunct associate professor at Columbia Engineering since the summer of 2017, where he has taught Introduction to Ethics to all 1,400 incoming 2017 graduate students. The pilot for the elective in advanced leadership and crisis management was conducted on November 10, 2017. More than 140 students, or about ten percent of the student body, enrolled in the course.
The course focuses on the drivers of trust and how engineers can make smart decisions in a crisis by achieving mental readiness: a combination of emotional discipline, deep knowledge, and intellectual rigor. It builds on material that students learned in Garcia’s Introduction to Ethics course.
The Advanced Leadership: Crisis Management for Engineers course features three case studies of crises involving engineering and engineers.
The first, the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. BP’s mishandling of what became the nation’s largest environmental disaster cost CEO Tony Hayward his job.
The company suffered significant consequences:
- BP pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and one count of lying to Congress.
- BP paid $62 billion in fines, penalties, and settlements.
- BP stock lost $105 billion in value in the months following the explosion, and remains depressed even seven years after the explosion.
The second case study was on General Motors’ handling of problems with the ignition switch in Cobalt and similar model cars that had been implicated in fatal accidents. The problem was discovered in 2001, but, according to an independent investigation in 2014, because engineers failed to fully understand the way the car was designed, GM labeled the issue a “customer inconvenience” rather than a safety defect, and therefore took very little action to resolve it for more than a decade. By 2014, 124 people had been killed, 17 people had suffered catastrophic injury such as multiple amputations or pervasive burns, and 250 others had been hospitalized with major injuries.
The consequences to General Motors were also significant:
- GM paid $600 million to families of those killed or injured.
- The company entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
- As part of the deferred prosecution agreement, GM forfeited $900 million.
The third case study focused on Apple’s dispute with the FBI following the terrorist shooting in San Bernardino, California. In early 2016 the FBI obtained a court order compelling Apple to design software to allow investigators to unlock a suspect’s iPhone and to overcome the encryption of any data that might be on the phone. Apple refused, saying that such software would make it possible to unlock every iPhone, creating significant safety and security risks for millions of Apple customers around the world. Two days later, Apple CEO Tim Cook received a standing ovation at the company’s annual shareholder meeting.
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Logos analyst Holly Helstrom helped Garcia design the course and the case studies, as well as his Introduction to Ethics course and an advanced ethics elective that will launch in December, 2017,
The Crisis Management for Engineers course is offered through Columbia Engineering’s Professional Development and Leadership program, which is intended to help engineering graduate students develop skills that will help them navigate the world of commerce, government, and academia following their course of formal study.
Garcia teaches similar courses in New York University’s Stern School of Business Executive MBA program and in NYU’s MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program, He also teaches similar content as a contract lecturer at Wharton/Penn, both traditional and executive MBA, Philadelphia and San Francisco. He also teaches as a contract lecturer in several of the professional schools of the U.S. military, including the U.S. Defense Information School, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, and various Professional Military Education programs of the U.S, Marine Corps.
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