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Weekly 4

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Submitted By brittanygermain
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Both Mastroianni (2008) and Adams (2006) refer to the concept of “bad apple” or “individual perpetrator” compared to “bad barrel” or “administrative evil” as potential elements that could have led to the abuses perpetrated in Abu Ghraib prison. From an ethical point of view, do you believe that evil acts, as exampled in the readings, are the sole result of “bad apples” or are there also situational factors (“bad barrel”) that can cause even good people to carry out, support or tolerate evil acts? Justify your position and discuss some of the implications from the perspective of a junior officer.
As I quickly approach the reality of becoming a junior officer in a few short weeks it is important for me to realize the link that exists between the concepts of “bad apples” and “bad barrels”; in the end, I need to understand that both of these lead to the same outcome of a corrupt and immoral work environment. It is assumed that in any organization across the world or even any unit within the CAF that there are “bad apples” that are violating the rules. These bad apples are the ones that are consistently pushing the boundaries and ruining positive, productive and ethical working environments. Ultimately one “bad apple” has the ability to create “bad barrels” within an organization. The concept of “bad barrels” can be related to the theories we discussed previously in that followers imitate upper leadership behaviour, which can lead to unethical cultures. As a junior officer if I act unethically or allow an individual under my command to act unethically then I am condoning this behaviour. As people continue to allow evil and corrupt behaviour to occur it can start to become a norm within the organization. Once the environment is created it has the potential to corrupt any individual that enters. This can be seen in the past when in many units, especially within the combat arms, it was the norm for individuals to be racist, discriminatory, and violent and the disastrous trend just got passed on through to new recruits that joined the unit. This means that as a junior officer in today’s CAF I need to make it my priority to ensure that these behaviours do not go unnoticed. Mastroianni offers several steps that can be taken in order to avoid this corruption: improved supervision, greater transparency and accountability, increased staffing, better training, and advice from corrections experts when applicable (Mastrioanni, 2008). These are all valuable tips for us junior officers entering our units.
By looking at the guidelines set out by Mastrioanni it makes it fairly clear that many steps could have been taken to avoid the misconduct at the Adu Ghraib prison. As mentioned previously, it is inevitable that the military will have “bad apples”; however it is what the leadership team does to either remove these behaviours or eliminate the individual from the organization. However, this was not possible because there was a lack of supervision of the individuals in question. This allowed them to continue with their behaviour without being stopped. Through the mistreatment towards the detainees it also became very apparent that a strong unethical culture was in place that facilitated the desensitization of those who participated and witnessed the actions. This is can be linked to a lack of ethics training and how to behave in stressful situations such as those characteristic of prisons. Furthermore, the “bad barrel” culture was also instigated by a lack of clear directives from the superior officers. This led the soldiers to be unclear of what was expected and how they were to behave. This is not trying to take away from the clearly unethical behaviour that the soldiers demonstrated but instead reaffirms the lack of training and transparency from their superiors. As stated above it is impossible to separate the terms “bad apples” and “bad barrels” instead it is the combination of bad apples and lack of adequate training and supervision that led to the creation of a bad barrel in the Adu Ghraib prison.…...

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