Do you believe the scandal resulted from (a) individuals failing to do the “right thing”
Review and critique the follow discussion post. (Source and example listed below discussion)
I believe that this scandal was a result from the individuals failing to do the “right thing.” I think this because as part of my current mission we have to take tests that are very similar to what these missileer’s had to take. The pressure that is on you for this this type of mission dealing with anything nuclear is so heavy from the higher ups. This makes the desire and personal need to do well for self-preservation very strong within the force. These airmen chose to cheat “to ensure they scored a 100 percent on their exams so they would be better positioned for progression and avoid punishment in an environment in which individual perfection was the standard at all times.”1 With the “right thing” being to take the test and achieve at least a 90%, the desire to be perfect was based on pressures from immediate leadership. Our testing was a no fail test when I first started the mission. A 100% was the only outcome for the crew testing. If one crew missed one question then the entire unit failed their inspection. So to say there was pressure is an understatement. That has since changed since this testing scandal as we can now miss a couple of questions and the unit still pass. With the classification of the material the missileer’s were testing on, taking their cell phones in the testing area to share answers no only potentially compromised classified materials but could have put the security of the USAF’s nuclear mission in jeopardy.
Emelander defines trust as “a belief that others, including both people and organizations, will behave in a way that does no harm when they are unobserved.”2 This scandal will definitely cause a trust issue within the ICBM organizations. It can bring into question whether the knowledge required for job competency is actually being achieved. With the missileer’s cheating to pass the requirement to study was not there. On the national level the public’s perception of our nuclear force will be weakened overall even though this is just one small part of the puzzle. On the international level, the United States is considered a nuclear superpower. One of only a few in the world. Scandals such as this one could place the validity of that claim into question and possibly change the employment of other forces during conflicts. For a recommendation to the leaders of the ICBM units I would recommend to start doing a full electronic sweep before testing. I would offer up other testing opportunities for the missileer’s to test without the threat of a failure to see where their knowledge level is. Overall a tighter restriction of the testing process and handling of the materials and improving the initial training of the incoming missileer’s to train them the correct way to prepare for a test. Of course it is going to take some time to repair the trust and the leaders should express this up front. One thing about trust is that once it’s broken it’s difficult to earn back.
Scenario used for the above discussion post: (Source)
The analysis of case studies that include ethical or moral failures typically includes cases where people failed to do the “right thing.” In other cases, the characters were faced with true dilemmas and hard moral choices. Ethics is not always black-and-white, or cut-and-dry. The true professional needs to learn how to exercise professional judgement and ascertain the proper action to take in any given circumstance. The Air Force’s ICBM Missileer Testing Scandal case study fits into this category.
Given your understanding of the Missileer Testing Scandal, answer the two questions below in your discussion post:
QUESTION 1: Do you believe the scandal resulted from (a) individuals failing to do the “right thing” or (b) a product of other dilemmas and hard moral choices? Why?
QUESTION 2: How might this testing scandal impact “trust” (a) inside the organization, (b) on the national level, and (c) on the international level? What recommendations would you provide the leaders in the affected ICBM units on how to deal with the possible effects this event has on “trust?”
Sample response: (Example)
Taryn we both share a lot of the same ideas when it comes to this scenario. The perfection that they felt was “placed upon them” to be maintained at all times led to the detriment of their core values and could have possibly put the mission into jeopardy. If an airman had of put a stop to this type of practice in the beginning then it may not have drug out into this big scandal. Doing the right thing the first time goes a long way. You brought up some great points about how this impacted trust. The point that their “mission ready” status could potentially be in question puts this whole scandal into an even bigger light. The knowledge level required for this type of mission is very high and the split second decisions that have to be made could ultimately mean life or death for up to millions of people. With the way that social media is these days the impact to trust on the national and international levels could be in jeopardy in no time, as you said “like wildfire.” The way that our adversaries view a scandal like this could potentially show weakness. We are considered a nuclear superpower in a very small group of superpowers. Showing a weakness within the nuclear force could put the nation in bad position.
I agree with your recommendations on how to remedy the effects on trust this might have caused. Positive leadership feedback and extra resources were along the lines of what I was recommending in my scenario. Emelander said “trust is important because it has a real impact on organizational performance in terms of both efficiency and effectiveness.” My question to you is since you suggested encouraging autonomy, how does the new leadership begin to trust them with this strategy because what’s to say that this will not happen again with them self-governing themselves almost as they were before? Thanks for your excellent analysis of this situation. I look forward to hearing more.