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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


NASA Strategic Management Handbook

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.5 stars
Content Quality: 3.7 stars
Effectiveness: 3 stars
Ease of Use: 3.7 stars
Reviewed: Apr 03, 2006 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This is, literally, the strategic management handbook for NASA. It has a preface
to provide a structural overview of the agency and another five chapters
(Strategic Management System, Roles and Responsibilities, Strategic Planning,
Implementation Planning, and Performance Evaluation) that takes the reader
through the strategic management process used. Overall, this is a comprehensive
approach to formal strategic planning for a large government agency. While the
usefulness of the site may be limited by its context, it is nevertheless an
interesting strategy resource.
Learning Goals: The site exposes the reader to the structural dynamics used to formulate
strategy, implement it, and then evaluate it.
Target Student Population: Students from community college level to graduate level could make use of this
site. Especially if they're studying organizational behavior or strategy.
There's definite use if the student is planning on going into a public sector
job or non-profit.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None, but in order to fully benefit from the site, it's best that the student
have at least some understanding of management and the strategic process.
Type of Material: Reference Material/Handbook. There are some charts/graphics that could be useful
to help illustrate organizational concepts.
Recommended Uses: The information presented is well done and could provide resource material for
discussion in class. However, NASA does have a very idiosynchratic mission and
it is reflected throughout the handbook.
Technical Requirements: Internet access and browser.

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 3.7 stars
Strengths: The document is very representative of the 'real thing' and is a great indicator
of the degree of information used by NASA and many other public or private
sector enterprises. In addition, because NASA is a agency we're all familiar
with, it makes it easier for the student to relate to the process. The document
clearly lays out all of the steps taken and the responsibilities of each party
in implementing theprocess.
Concerns: This material is long and tedious. There are many acronyms and protocols the
reader must sift through in order to understand the material. In addition, NASA
might not have the best agency model to start applying to real world businesses.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 3 stars
Strengths: It is always interesting for students to see that what is taught in class (in
this instance, strategic planning) is really applied in the outside world. This
case illustrates the importance of strategic planning, including evaluation, in
a large government agency.
Concerns: The material is very lengthy and detailed and much of it pertains specifically
to NASA. It is a difficult read and may not keep the reader engaged.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 3.7 stars
Strengths: The site is easy to use and easy to follow and it is well written. The chapter
structure also makes it easy to use as a reference source.
Concerns: Because it is text driven it is not very engaging. It'd be best to cite this in
class as one possible example of how to think about strategy.

Other Issues and Comments: The document should be made available as a PDF file to allow for keyword
searching. In additionn, the document is very information-dense, making it hard
to extract essential messages from the document. However, the article is very
relevant to strategic management and could help support/illustrate discussion in
planning, organizing, staffing, motivation, and control functions in
organizations.