Case #1458.0

Getting Squeezed

Publication Date: September 01, 1998
Current Stock:

Educator Access

A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint

Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

The executive assistant to the Army Chief of Staff prepares the nomination forms for all Army officers eligible for promotion, which are then submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) for approval and later confirmation by the Senate. During the officer's tenure, a SASC investigation reveals that serious racial incidents have occurred at four military bases. In response, the SASC establishes new guidelines for the promotion process, requiring a disclosure statement outlining any involvement or allegations of involvement in racial incidents, whether substantiated or not. The statement must also include any incidents involving the nominees subordinates. Although the officer and the Chief of Staff have developed a relationship of mutual respect and admiration, on this issue they disagree. The officer believes that all information should be supplied to the SASC as required. The Chief has utter disdain for the guidelines, since even unproven allegations must be reported, and thinks it is unreasonable to hold superiors accountable for subordinates. The officer wants to preserve his relationship with his superior, yet does not want to engage in any wrongdoing. Under pressure, he chooses a strategy of outward compliance to the guidelines while knowing that his reports will be altered by the Chief before their submission to the SASC.

Learning Objective:
This case raises questions about the limits of obedience and the possible forms of dissent in a bureaucratic setting.

Other Details

Case Author:
Kenneth Winston
Faculty Lead:
Kenneth Winston
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States