Relationship of college honor codes and core values to unethical behavior in the military workplace

Thomas J Gibbons, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

This study examined the relationship between the college honor code experience, United States military core values (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard), and self-reported unethical behavior. The major research questions were these: (1) How are variations in the self-reported unethical behavior of military personnel, measured in terms of frequency and severity, related to their college honor code experiences? (2) How are variations in the self-reported unethical behavior of military personnel, measured in terms of frequency and severity, related to their understanding of military core values? (3) To what extent do military personnel perceive that college honor codes are reinforced by military core values?^ The study was distinctive because it surveyed military personnel ( N = 688) from a variety of colleges and universities, with and without honor codes, at different career stages. Some were graduates of military service academies and many graduated from other types of institutions of higher education. Four groups were surveyed: Naval Academy Preparatory School (NAPS) students (n = 171) at the beginning of their military careers; Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) students (n = 127) with an average of 10 years of service; College of Naval Command and Staff (CNC&S) students (n = 204) with an average of 14 years of service; and College of Naval Warfare (CNW) students (n = 186) with an average of 20 years of service.^ An explanatory, two-phased, mixed methods, sequential approach was employed. In the first phase, quantifiable questionnaire data were obtained from all four groups. Respondents were asked whether they engaged in specific unethical behaviors in college and in the military, and for demographic information. In the second phase, 5 members from each group were interviewed to develop common themes for a total of 20 interviews.^ A major finding was those without college honor code experience and with weak understanding of military core values reported significantly higher levels of unethical behavior in the military workplace (M = 51.18), than those with honor code experience and with strong core values understanding (M = 37.45) and the relationship was significant at the .001 level (t = 12.04, df = 398, p < .001, ES = Medium). This finding, which is consistent with the literature, has ramifications for educational leaders, particularly those in military schools and colleges.^

Subject Area

Education, Higher|Military Studies

Recommended Citation

Thomas J Gibbons, "Relationship of college honor codes and core values to unethical behavior in the military workplace" (January 1, 2007). Dissertation & Theses Collection. Paper AAI3270296.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI3270296

Share

COinS