Featured Article: Organizational Ethics Gone Wrong
Organizational Ethics Gone Wrong
by Jonathan Bailey and Ted Thomas
“Fat” Leonard Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia and a good friend to the Navy leadership for over a decade, defrauded the U.S. Navy for $35 million dollars. The investigation that followed implicated scores of Navy personnel, including admirals, in the corruption scandal. He bribed leaders and key personnel with money, prostitutes, expensive gifts, free vacations, and other things. In return for his “gifts,” he gained classified information about docking schedules and overcharged the Navy for his company’s services. The remarkable fact about all of this is not that it happened, but that the corruption was so rampant and almost became part of the accepted culture of the 7th fleet.
With all of the fiscal oversight within government contracting and the organizational moral codes of the armed services, how could this happen? How could this many organizational leaders move from their ethical foundations and drift into unethical behavior, or even condone it by their inaction as they watched others participate in it? What causes an organization to drift from its espoused values to immoral and often criminal behaviors, and how can leaders prevent this from happening? The answers to these questions are important for organizational leaders to understand, and the answers carry significant moral and ethical implications for society.
High profile leaders who fall from grace due to abuse of power, money, or sex issues get a lot of press—bad press…
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Chaplain (Major) Jonathan Bailey is the Ethics Instructor at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff School. His civilian education includes a Bachelor of Arts in history and religious studies from Stetson University, as well as a Master of Divinity and a Master of Sacred Theology in Ethics from Boston University School of Theology. He has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Army for 13 years.Ted Thomas, Ph.D., Lieutenant Colonel, retired, is formerly the Director of the Department of Command and Leadership in the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, retiring at the close of academic year 2019. Thomas graduated from the United States Military Academy and served in various command and staff positions before retiring from the military. He received a master’s from the University of Illinois, and a Ph.D. from Missouri University of Science and Technology.