The Kursk Submarine Rescue Mission Harvard Case Solution & Analysis

The Kursk Submarine Rescue Mission Case Study Solution

SWOT Analysis:


  • Russian navy is considered to be one of the advanced equipped navy in its neighboring country.
  • The navy consistently develops new defense equipment’s in order to maintain its competitive strong position not only in its neighboring country but also in the world.
  • Russian navy is considered to be one of the largest and powerful navies.
  • The army officers that were involved in the rescue mission were considered to be highly experienced.
  • The mission was conducted by strictly following the chain of command as well as without compromising on confidentiality (Sammut-Bonnici & Galea, 2015).


  • The features and the products of Russian navy are easily imitable
  • Russian navy faced a financial crises and cut down in defense budget due to that they are facing slow pace in the development of new technology
  • Due to cut down in the defense budget the Russian navy was failed to provide salaries to its officers due to this most of the officers left the job and one officer of Russian navy attempt suicide.
  • The morale of the officers in the Russian navy was declining.
  • The Russian navy didn’t perform the rescue operation successfully and didn’t save a single person from crew.


  • One of the opportunity for the Russian navy to improves its technological skills and innovate new defense equipment’s in order to become stronger defense force.
  • By gaining the international presence in its rescue operation, this would help the Russian navy to build strong relationship with the neighboring countries.
  • The Russian navy find out the loopholes of Kursk. This would help the navy in order to build more powerful defensive products.
  • Provide training to sailors and turn the operation into live exercises in order to take quick actions in such situations.


  • Taking help from rescue mission might become a threat for the navy in such a way that the Russian navy would lose its confidentiality
  • The other participants in the operation would find the weakness and the loopholes of the Russian navy.
  • Raising of conflicts between the political bodies and the Russian Navy
  • The failure in rescue mission would expose a negative image of the country.

Seven Building Blocks:

The seven imperative building blocks model is used in order to identify the different behavior of leaders and connecting it with the situation in case. (Swindoll)

The first step in the seven building blocks is the passion for the project, which indicates that the leader much have a realistic vision, determination to achieve that vision, innovative ideas and proper path to reach the goal. In case of Kursk submarine, Russian navy didn’t have any clarity in its vision or lack of vision. Although, the navy acquired the international help but due to clarity and absence of vision, the operation delayed which resulted in failure of the operation and the rescue team wasn’t able to save a single person in a crew.

The second building block is the ability to motivate other. In order to share a common goals, the leader must motivate and inspire their followers in order to get the desired results. The leader must have concern, ideas and simply articulate the goals of mission. Unfortunately, in the case of Kursk submarine case, the leader (Russian Navy officers) was concern about their confidentiality rather than saving the crew, and wasn’t guiding the rescue team properly in order to make the operation successful. However, the rescue team was motivated and concern about saving the crew as their words “we will do our best and carry on our work until the last chance and sign of life seems to appear”. Further illustrated that“we know that the sailor of Kursk were dead, but still we are working on the assumptions that they are alive”.

The third stone in building block is blind trust on God. The leaders of the Russian navy had trust on god while they themselves didn’t have any efforts to save the crew. Despite of being aware of the fact that the sailors on the submarine wouldn’t survive more than hour, the leaders of the navy took long time to start the rescue operation.

The fourth building block refers to the patience in the leader and take the right decision at the right time. The challenge of the Russian navy officers was to take the decision that how to save the crew without hurting the confidentiality. With the facts that Kursk submarine is considered to be one of the largest attack submarine in the history of Russian navy with overloaded features, so the leaders of the navy whom called as decision makers in case study wanted to take decision after in-depth analysis with the possibility of the future outcomes. Resulting of deep analysis, the rescue operation was delayed and operation didn’t achieve its aim (save crew). Additionally, the operation was performed with strict restriction and in accordance to the orders of high level officers such as before taking each action the rescue operation the permission was required from a high level management, which caused delay in actions and time.

The fifth stone in building block is to be practical and accept the reality. The navy officers knew that the rescue operation has late and there would no sign of life and all the crew would be dead. With this reality, the officers considered the factor of confidentiality and did their best in keeping the privacy by providing the limited information to the rescue team and lack of empowerment to take decision by their own.

The six building block is willingness to work hard and get the desired results. In case of Kursk submarine the leader or the decision makers wouldn’t able to trust anyone and they had wiliness to keep the privacy and didn’t concern about the saving of crew which resulting in the failure of rescue operation.

The seven or last building block is to finish the job. The rescue operation was delayed due to various conflicting barriers such as lack of trust, communication barriers and lack of shared purpose. However, the rescue operation teams performed their duties of completing the operation, such as Northern Fleet quickly found the submarine, UKSRS provided its best class submersible vehicle in order to reach the sailors to the surface, and the Norwegian off-shore company provided sea divers in the rescue operations, and all the rescue operations were done according to the instruction of high level management and by keeping confidentiality and providing limited information…………..


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