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Establishing an Ethical Climate

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[Technical Report, Research Paper]

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The importance of establishing an ethical climate in a unit is important. In this essay, I will define and discuss ethics, the importance of ethics in the decisions and actions of our military leaders and subordinates. I will show how the lack of an ethical climate resulted in prisoner abuse in Iraq, Afghanistan and Cuba. I will discuss several Soldiers who despite peer pressure and opposition from superiors upheld the ethical training and values they learned in the military. The most common definition for the word ethics is a set of principles of right conduct a system of moral values. Morals are the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character. A leaders ethical behavior should incorporate the Army values. Key ethical principles include honesty, respect for others, and fairness. All Soldiers join the Army with their own ethical standard many differ from Soldier to Soldier. This is the reason the military teaches every Soldier in the military ethics training that focuses on the seven Army values and provides Soldiers with a moral standard to use when making decisions. The ethical environment in a unit should reflect and support the Army values. Some leaders put their subordinates in ethical dilemmas by deliberately sending the wrong ethical message. Soldiers respect their leaders and want to be just like them. Leaders must always remember their subordinates are monitoring every decision and action they make. How many times has a leader brief their units that a day off depended upon getting all vehicles assigned to a fully mission capable status, despite the fact a backorder of parts created the decline in maintenance. The leader hints that an adjoining units motor pool with similar vehicles is currently at 100 percent. The leader ends the briefing by stating do whatever it takes to acquire the parts needed. The message this leader sends to his subordinates is that it is acceptable to steal another units parts in order to achieve success.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law

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[A, Approved For Public Release]