Boeing’s Alleged Mismanagement, DEI Connection

Boeing | Image by VDB Photos/Shutterstock

Boeing has faced increasing scrutiny by federal officials since two aircraft crashed in 2019, but the public was not widely aware of purported problems at the company until an incident earlier this year in which a door plug blew off midflight.

Since the door plug incident, numerous quality issues have been brought to light, and some view the policies of the once-great company as partly responsible for the aircraft manufacturer’s perceived decline. Everything from the corporation’s drive for profits to its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives purportedly reveal a dynamic that some observers find troubling and indicative of the state of corporate America today.

A social media user on X with the handle @FischerKing recently opined on the situation at Boeing. In a March 15 post, he wrote:

“I can explain Boeing quickly. It attained a market dominant position in the USA following the merger with McDonnell Douglas. This made it lazy. It then got new management, which emphasized financial chicanery over top flight engineering … The financial geniuses then worked to break the union, shift production away from its trained Seattle work force to places like South Carolina, and outsource production of most plane components abroad — the American work force was left to assemble all these disparate parts rather than produce them here. Software was also outsourced. The end result was lower quality of aircraft, delays in development and production, and even fatalities from crashes. But rest assured the management in Chicago did very well.”

The Federal Aviation Administration, one of several agencies currently investigating Boeing, reported in February that numerous issues were identified following the January door plug incident that involved a Boeing 737 Max operated by Alaska Airlines.

“The Expert Panel observed a disconnect between Boeing’s senior management and other members of the organization on safety culture,” the report said.

USA Today reported that the panel revealed that employees feared retaliation from management for reporting safety issues and that the company’s safety plan was confusing and not implemented consistently across the company.

One whistleblower, John Barnett, was found dead on March 8 in what is being viewed by law enforcement as an apparent suicide, though some who knew him have expressed skepticism over the suicide claim, as reported by The Dallas Express. The New York Post reported that unnamed employees said Barnett had made “powerful enemies” by publicly revealing serious quality issues in aircraft assembly at Boeing.

Boeing has also been facing mockery for its alleged prioritization of DEI initiatives and messaging over rudimentary safety. The satire website Geniuses Times, for instance, published a fake news article with the headline “Boeing jets come out as trans-safe: they are not safe but they ‘identify as safe.'”

Part of the satire piece reads:

“The announcement comes as a surprise to many, but Boeing insists that they are simply embracing the true nature of their planes. ‘Our planes have always wanted to be safe, and we are proud to support them in their journey,’ a Boeing spokesperson said in a press conference. ‘We’re not just talking about physical safety here — although our planes are impeccably crafted and rigorously tested by the most diverse people on Earth. No, we’re talking about a deeper, spiritual safety. Sure, wheels fall off, doors fly off in flight, and fuel leaks are common, but our planes identify as safe, and that’s what really matters.’”

DEI initiatives have been criticized for putting purportedly unqualified people in important positions simply to meet quotas based on race and gender rather than skill and training, though it has not been clearly proven that such policies have affected Boeing’s performance.

@FischerKing, however, linked DEI with what he considers to be the overall mismanagement trend at Boeing:

“[B]y focusing on MBAs and JDs rather than engineers, top management fell victim to all the pathologies coming out of top schools. This is where the DEI nonsense comes from, which would have been much harder to impose if management were more focused on building good planes than stock buybacks. So the outsourcing, cost cutting, diminishing the original work force — all this is now working in tandem with the sort of diversity/DEI dysfunction visible all over corporate America. It’s a feedback loop that could be fatal to Boeing, and has already been fatal to [some] airline passengers.”

The numerous incidents and increased scrutiny may have resulted in a sharp drop in the company’s stock value. Investing.com shows a decrease of 29% since January, and it is possible the stock value could continue to fall if more issues at Boeing are revealed.

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