Fluor Corporation has always prided itself on its expertise in security. It was a core value of the company, and fluorine had achieved remarkable safety records on complex projects around the world. But now, in the spring of 1997, fluorine found himself managing the Western Hemisphere’s largest environmental cleanup site, the Hanford Reservation in Washington State. The Hanford Site was established as part of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, gave birth to the atomic bomb. Hanford produces nearl … Read more »

Fluor Corporation has always prided itself on its expertise in security. It was a core value of the company, and fluorine had achieved remarkable safety records on complex projects around the world. But now, in the spring of 1997, fluorine found himself managing the Western Hemisphere’s largest environmental cleanup site, the Hanford Reservation in Washington State. The Hanford Site was established as part of the Manhattan Project in the 1940s, gave birth to the atomic bomb. Hanford produced almost two-thirds of U.S. plutonium during the Cold War. The Hanford Site was half the size of Rhode Iceland, occupying 586 square miles in southeastern Washington State. The cleanup, which began in 1988, was expected to be 30 years and more. Improving safety at Hanford proved to be a challenge. As a new site manager at Hanford, Fluor Hanford inherited (FH) lower and mid-level managers and thousands of unionized employees, many of whom are second or third generation Hanford were employees. These employees had seen many business owners come and go over the previous years. Some of the managers who had worked with the previous contractor saw fluorine focus on security in the way of operations. Union / management relations were fractious. Hanford culture was a “production management-driven tells everyone what to do, and if you did not, there were consequences.” Employee involvement in the design and implementation of safety programs was negligible. FH also was with difficulty satisfying its client, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).
This is a Thunderbird Case Study.
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from
Andrew C. Inkpen,
Michael Moffett
Source: Thunderbird School of Global Management
13 pages.
Release Date: 11 September 2009. Prod #: TB0021-PDF-ENG
Safety at Fluor Hanford (A) HBR case solution

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