CAS1: Management at Work (Individual assignment)
Officers and Gentlemen Behaving Badly (p.30)
Between the fall of 2012 and the spring of 2014, the U.S. military was embarrassed by a series of ethical breaches, most incidents involving sexual misbehavior among high-ranking officers. In October 2013, for example, Air Force Maj. Gen. Michael Carey was fired from a job that put him in charge of 450 intercontinental ballistic missiles for getting drunk and carousing with “suspect” women while on an official mission to Moscow. Carey resigned—minus one general's star and at a slightly lower pension—in April 2014.
At least one officer took it upon himself to clamp down on unbecoming conduct in his command. At Fort Jackson, S.C., Army Brig. Gen. Bryan T. Roberts publicly warned his troops that “the Army has zero-tolerance for sexual harassment and sexual assault, and so do I. … All of us have a shared role in ridding our ranks of this cancerous conduct.” Unbeknownst to Roberts, he was under investigation by the Army for charges of assault on a woman who alleged that she'd been having an affair with the married general for 18 months—a relationship that had turned violent on several occasions. The investigation also turned up two other women who admitted to having affairs with Roberts, who was convicted of adultery (a crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and assault. He was fined $5,000 and issued a written reprimand but held on to his general's star. According to his attorney, Roberts will be “retiring soon.”
Meanwhile, at Fort Bragg, N.C., Col. Martin P. Schweitzer followed up a meeting with newly elected Congresswoman Renee L. Ellmers with emails to fellow officers in which he described her as “smoking hot” and an apt candidate for a few sexually explicit activities. A year later, Schweitzer was forced to admit to investigators that he'd been “childish” and “truly stupid.” Concluding that the colonel had “failed to demonstrate exemplary conduct,” the Army inspector general's office cited Schweitzer for misuse of his government email account and placed a “memorandum of concern” in his personnel file. Now a brigadier general, Schweitzer works for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
How did Schweitzer's “stupid” email fall into the hands of the inspector general in the first place? Schweitzer, it seems, had copied Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, deputy commander of Fort Bragg's 82nd Airborne Division. As luck would have it, Sinclair's emails were under surveillance in a search for evidence of misconduct that could have landed him in prison for life, including sexual assault on a female captain with whom he had carried on a three-year affair. Sinclair became only the third Army general to face court-martial in 60 years, but a two-year trial ended in March 2014, when Sinclair pleaded guilty to adultery and a few other minor changes. He was fined $20,000 but got no jail time, and prosecutors recommended that he be allowed to retire with a lieutenant colonel's pension. “It's a terrible outcome,” said the attorney for Sinclair's accuser, “and by failing to render justice today, the Army's going to face the reality that this could happen again.” California Congresswoman Jackie Speier put the response of critics more bluntly: “This sentence,” she said, “is a mockery of military justice. … For a sexual predator to gain the rank that [Gen. Sinclair] has gained, go through a court-martial, and be given a slap on the wrist suggests … that the system does not work.”
A week later, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel followed through on a promise that he'd made in February to appoint a Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism—in effect, an ethics officer at the Pentagon. “I want someone,” said Hagel, “who understands … the pressures of combat, the pressures of curriculums and testing, and who has a well-rounded background in command.” The job went to Navy Rear Adm. Margaret D. Klein, who reported directly to Hagel on issues related to military ethics, character, and leadership.
A naval flight officer with a master's degree in education, Klein is a former commandant of midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy and chief of staff, U.S. Cyber Command. She's logged more than 4,500 hours in command and control aircraft and held operational positions in an airborne command squadron and an aircraft carrier strike group. Klein “brings to the position a wealth of operational leadership and experience,” said Hagel in a written statement. “She also knows that ethics and character are absolute values that must be constantly reinforced. …
“An uncompromising culture of accountability,” concluded Hagel, “must exist at every level of command.” For her part, Klein is convinced that ethics go hand in hand with professionalism: “When you think about what goes into military professionalism,” she says,
" The first word that comes to mind is ethics. … We are deeply concerned about the profession. … But it's more than that. It's about leadership. That is what we all have in common. We are all leaders, whether in civilian clothes or in the uniform of our country. … As a profession, we don't exist because we are a jobs program. We don't exist to perpetuate ourselves. … We're an instrument of national power, and we take an oath to the Constitution. … We're judged against that special trust and confidence that's placed in us. … So our actions—good and bad—reflect on the profession, and it's the profession that we're responsible to. … We can put all the programs and policies in place to say that we don't condone “X” behavior, but until each one of us realizes that it's our responsibility—our duty—to eradicate [certain] behaviors from our profession, they'll continue to exist."
1. The text reminds us that the U.S. military is a “government organization” that requires managers. It adds, however, that managing such an organization is often regarded as a “separate specialty.” What do you think the “separate specialty” entails in this context? In what respects is Adm. Margaret Klein qualified in the “separate specialty” that's required for success in her job as Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism?
2. The case indicates that the Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism is essential “an ethics officer at the Pentagon.” According to one simple explanation, an ethics officer “aligns the practices of a workplace with the stated ethics and beliefs of that workplace, holding people accountable to ethical standards.” In what ways must a successful ethics officer play Mintzberg's ten different managerial roles? If you were to advise Adm. Klein on the relative importance of these roles, in what order would rank them, from most to least important?
3. According to the text, not-for-profit organizations try to meet “intangible goals.” In the broadest sense, what are the goals of the U.S. military? The text also defines leading as “the set of processes used to get members of an organization to work together to further the interests of the organization,” including meeting its goals. What can and should military leaders do to improve the organization's efforts to meet its goals? Why are ethical standards important in these efforts, and what can military leaders do to improve adherence to ethical standards?
4. A profession can be defined as an occupation, practice, or vocation requiring mastery of a complex set of knowledge and skills through formal education and/or practical experience. Professional ethics can be defined as professionally accepted standards of personal and occupational behavior, values, and guiding principles. Thus a “profession” is a specific kind of job with certain specific rules for performing job-related activities. How do professional ethics influence job-related activities in ways that don't necessarily apply in “nonprofessional” situations?
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