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Published by: Allied Business Academies
Published in: "Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies", 2004

Abstract

Imagine the outrage if one out of five female American POWs said they had been sexually assaulted by Iraqi. Well, that's how many female Air Force cadets say they have been assaulted - not by the enemy, but by men supposed to be their comrades in arms. This case study chronicles the June-September, 2003, investigation of a decade of alleged sexual misconduct at the United States Air Force Academy. A panel of investigators, appointed by the Secretary of Defense and headed by the Honorable Tillie K Fowler, examined the awareness of misconduct and the Academy's organizational culture, climate, structure, curriculum, reporting and response procedures and leadership (internal and external) in an attempt to identify root causes and to provide lasting recommendations for the prevention and intervention of any future abuses. The primary subject matter of this case involves the detection of cause factors and proposal of corrective actions to eliminate chronic sexual misconduct in an organization that rewards machismo. Despite the Academy's emphasis on officer integrity and honor, previous attempts over the last decade, to correct these problems have failed. Secondary issues examined include leadership, ethics, whistle blowing, sexual harassment, and the confidentiality of reporting along with how to develop character and plant seeds for organizational change. The objective is to make the students develop an investigative process that examines interrelated and often subtle cause factors to develop well justified corrective actions. This case is appropriate for junior or senior undergraduate students as well as graduate students studying business policy or strategy, human resource management, organizational behavior and ethics. This case can be easily varied in its scope through the array of focused discussion questions. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require three to four hours of outside preparation depending upon the level of sophistication; it is ideal for either individual or team assignments/presentations.

About

Abstract

Imagine the outrage if one out of five female American POWs said they had been sexually assaulted by Iraqi. Well, that's how many female Air Force cadets say they have been assaulted - not by the enemy, but by men supposed to be their comrades in arms. This case study chronicles the June-September, 2003, investigation of a decade of alleged sexual misconduct at the United States Air Force Academy. A panel of investigators, appointed by the Secretary of Defense and headed by the Honorable Tillie K Fowler, examined the awareness of misconduct and the Academy's organizational culture, climate, structure, curriculum, reporting and response procedures and leadership (internal and external) in an attempt to identify root causes and to provide lasting recommendations for the prevention and intervention of any future abuses. The primary subject matter of this case involves the detection of cause factors and proposal of corrective actions to eliminate chronic sexual misconduct in an organization that rewards machismo. Despite the Academy's emphasis on officer integrity and honor, previous attempts over the last decade, to correct these problems have failed. Secondary issues examined include leadership, ethics, whistle blowing, sexual harassment, and the confidentiality of reporting along with how to develop character and plant seeds for organizational change. The objective is to make the students develop an investigative process that examines interrelated and often subtle cause factors to develop well justified corrective actions. This case is appropriate for junior or senior undergraduate students as well as graduate students studying business policy or strategy, human resource management, organizational behavior and ethics. This case can be easily varied in its scope through the array of focused discussion questions. The case is designed to be taught in one class hour and is expected to require three to four hours of outside preparation depending upon the level of sophistication; it is ideal for either individual or team assignments/presentations.

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