An inductive study of the development, application, and sociological impact of ethics instruction at the United States Naval Academy
Ryan, Richard J.
Barrett, Frank J.
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This thesis studies the systemic aspects of ethics instruction and moral development that midshipmen are exposed to during their four year stay at the United States Naval Academy. This is a relatively untouched area of analysis at the Academy. Therefore, the research is approached inductively and holistically. Research includes theoretical, historical, comparative, quantitative, and qualitative examination of factors related to the generation of ethical and moral standards at the Naval Academy. Academic workload and classmate loyalty are both contributing components in a midshipman's statistical willingness to commit or overlook behavior that does not conform with the Academy's ethical doctrine. These components also negatively affect the complete assimilation of ethical concepts, as well as the practical employment of these concepts. Theoretically, early adulthood is a critical period in moral development and this has been repeatedly evidenced in the history of military education. However, the change that historically emerges from morally questionable incidents yields future benefit to the effectiveness of the institution. All academies can benefit from the recommendations for longitudinal measurement of ethics instruction systems, continued attendance to the critical voices of midshipmen, and information interchange between academies.
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