Boeing’s Broken Culture Exposed

A trove of internal employee communications shows that the aviation giant’s troubles go beyond one poorly designed plane

Boeing’s troubles run deep. The 737 Max, its newest and most important jet, has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes killed 346 people. The cascading crisis has disrupted the global aviation industry, cost the company billions of dollars and led to the ouster of its chief executive.

Yet the steady drip of bad news and embarrassing revelations — culminating in Thursday’s release of 117 pages of damning internal communications — has revealed something more disturbing than one poorly designed plane. The very culture at Boeing appears to be broken, with some senior employees having little regard for regulators, customers and even co-workers.

Perhaps most tellingly, the documents show Boeing employees repeatedly questioning the competence of their own colleagues, and the quality of the company’s engineering.

“This is a joke,” a Boeing employee, referring to the 737 Max, said to a colleague in 2016. “This airplane is ridiculous.”

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