Publication:
THE ROLE OF LEADERSHIP IN CORRUPTION AND MISCONDUCT SCANDALS IN THE U.S. MILITARY

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Authors
Papapostolou, Ilias
Subjects
leadership
culture
corruption
misconduct
wrongdoing
Advisors
Lester, Paul
Date of Issue
2022-06
Date
Publisher
Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
This study explores the role of leadership in three high-profile corruption and misconduct scandals—the Fat Leonard scandal, the murder of SPC Vanessa Guillén, and the Abu Ghraib Prison scandal—that occurred in the U.S. military over several decades. Additionally, the research delves into the culture of corrupt military commands and investigates patterns of leadership behavior that set the conditions for wrongdoing to occur. This way, the research goes beyond the often-cited “one bad apple” explanation examining organizational wrongdoing as a process. Using a qualitative research approach and utilizing an existing theoretical model, I categorize and evaluate publicly available data. The research findings illustrate that leaders’ actions or inaction directly triggered corruption or misconduct in two out of three scandals; however, leadership was indirectly involved in the third case study. Organizational culture also had a normalizing effect attracting more severe transgression. Lastly, leaders were found mindful of misbehavior in all cases, tacitly or overtly authorized misconduct, and failed to cultivate an ethical organizational culture. These results show that systemic deficiencies and leadership failures continue afflicting DOD and articulate the need for more drastic policies. Based on the findings, recommendations for the DOD are provided and explained.
Type
Thesis
MBA Professional Project
Description
Includes Supplementary Material
Department
Department of Defense Management (DDM)
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
Sponsors
Funder
Format
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release. Distribution is unlimited.
Rights
Copyright is reserved by the copyright owner.
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