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Phillip K. Tompkins
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Fire Communication & Education
Crisis Communication

NRFSN number: 15970
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Drawing upon experience working for NASA during the Apollo Missions and his studies of organizational communication, Tompkins illustrates that taking a communication perspective can help with understanding organizational problems. This book takes a narrative approach in which Tompkins discusses his visits to the Marshall Space Flight Center as a consultant, as well as his assessment of the Challenger accident as it was described by the Roger’s Commission Report. Tompkins explains communication practices, such as upward communication, interorganizational penetration, and “Monday Notes,” that made the Marshall Flight Space Center so successful during NASA’s Apollo Missions. Tompkins then contrasts the best practices of NASA during the Apollo era with practices that led to the Challenger tragedy. Tompkins’ book reveals organizational communication practices that lead to success or failure in organizations, such as NASA, that have little room for error.


Tompkins PK. 1993. Organizational communication imperatives: lessons of the space program. Los Angeles: Roxbury, 238 p.

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