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HRMG204 Organizational Behavior 1

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Question:

Discuss about the HRMG204 Organizational Behavior.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction:

The Australian Defense Force Academy failed due to the filming of two male and female cadets who were having consensual sex, whereby the female cadet did not know that they were being filmed (Welch, 2018 p.1).  The sex footage between the two cadets was streamed to a separate room where other cadets watched which resulted in two cadets being charged with the offensive use of a carrier service (Roberts-smith, 2018 p.8). As a result, one cadet was charged with an indecent act, with additional sex scandal cases at the organization being presented before the criminal courts. Some of the allegations included the charging of a male cadet where he faced with charges of indecent acts in the victim’s presence after the female cadet noticed that the male cadet’s phone was strategically placed in a shower vent at the organization. After the female cadet reported the case and it was presented before a court of law, the defense argued successfully there was no case but all the central players including kate lost their position in ADFA (Australian Broadcasting Commission, 2013 p.1)

In a similar sexual scandal case, the ACT Supreme Court sentenced a cadet who had previously found guilty of an indecency act without his consent (Widergren, Huonker & Kurelo, 2013 p.1). Orders were placed for the cadet to sign an undertaking for good behavior for an eighteen months period. As a whole, the organization was affected as the incident resulted in a bad reputation and public image. According to Asafuddoula, Ray and Sarker, (2011), the main stakeholders in the organization’s sex scandal are the media, the cadets, the organization’s managers and key government players. The stakeholders were affected in that the sex scandals resulted in costly and serious consequences for them since the internal measures for the containment of such scandals were believed not to be effective in regards to the level of sensitivity they possessed.  The stakeholders’ interests included their concern of the collective use of collective players by the people handling the case, especially the transformation of the scandal to a social affair rather than being a personal and internal affair that could be solved and controlled within the organization without public involvement, exposure and knowledge.

In addition, other stakeholders’ concerns included the inability of the organization to depersonalize and generalize the scandal which would have focused the scandal to the pertinent group’s ramifications which were more general for all of the stakeholders. Their concern was serious and important in that the Skype sex scandal was in the phase of the social affair for a period that was over two and a half years (Habiba, 2016 p.304). Furthermore, years later, the organization still faced various new scandals that highlighted how the public trial proceeded and continued affecting the stakeholders. Moreover, a directive for media spotlight was imposed for the abuse allegations at ADFA that for several years focused on incidents that were specific as well as the broad institutional culture. As a result, various former or current cadets made reports directly through the media on abuse allegations at the organization that unearthed the numerous sex scandals that had silently been happening at ADFA.

 

Organizational Behavior Factors that Contributed To the Organizational Failure

Individuals’ factors like personality, value, psychological-stress and moral-development were associated with the failure of the Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA). According to Rock (2010 p.130), stress takes a lot of energy from people and therefore they are unable to perform best in their workplaces. The sexual harassments and other complaints that took place in the Australian Defense Force Academy without appropriate action taken affected female cadets morale significantly (Angyal, 2018 p.1). Furthermore, many young female cadets felt like they were not part of the organization and lived in fear and dilemma whether to quit the organization or to continue with their duties as they wait for justice. In addition, the depression experienced by the female cadet due to publicity facilitates her to seek attention from the media.

Personality was also associated with organization failure. Louis and Lombart (2010 p.114) defined personality as a unique thought of patterns, feelings and behaviors that makes an individual different from others. Furthermore, the personality and nature of individuals is the root cause of the behavior. The personalities of authority are not balancing equality in their judgments created the gap that existed between authorities and cadets. In addition, the male personalities like dominant, forcefulness and aggressiveness give them a superiority opportunity over female cadets. Furthermore, it is through leadership failed to address the personality’s differences that led to harassments of female cadets.

Values and moral development contributed significantly to ADFA’s failure. Ambrose, Arnaud and Schminke (2008 p.323) defined moral development as a process of developing behaviors and attitudes towards other people. ADFS male cadets developed an immoral belief against young female cadets. Furthermore, female cadets aged 17 or 18 years old were most affected with the sexual harassment (Habiba, 2017 p.311)

 

Organizational Culture, Subculture, Group Processes

Organization culture and subculture is as a system of shared beliefs, values, experiences, attitudes and psychology that develops within an organization and guides the behavior of members (Wu et al., 2010 p.670). Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) in the case has a culture that influenced the workforces were managed. The feminism culture in the Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) was very high with environment dominated by male cadets. The culture considered women as inferiors in the organization with limited rights of expression. The offender’s actions in the Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) was taken lightly whenever the female’s cadet reported their concerns. Furthermore, the female cadet published the concerns to media because she knew the accused could only face “minor ‘prejudicial conduct’ charge” (Snow & Oakes 2011 p.6). In addition, the females were subordinate, they could not raise their voices against superiors, and if they did, they were subjected for different abuse ranging from being bullied, sexually harassed and physically abused.
The culture of Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) discourages honesty approaches hence allowing the unethical behavior to spread unimpeded.  According to Stevens (2008 p.601), a company should encourage the staff to report any emerging ethical behavior before the problem widespread. However, with accordance to ADFA culture, complainants were excluded or isolated by other cadets after reporting the instances of abuses. Furthermore, the complainants were exposed to more sexual harassments after reporting. If ADFA had a positive culture of addressing the need then workforce conflicts that existed between the management could not reach public spheres and spoil Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) reputation.

The abuse cultures started from top management downwards to employees. The leaders of the organization were first to abuse their office by not taking appropriate actions against the cadets who were bullying others. Furthermore, even the senior cadets feared being bullied when they confronted the abuse culture against the junior cadets. Therefore, it is clear that because of the existence of this culture that limits employees from reporting abuse contributed to the under-reporting of abuse at ADFA.

The group processes of ADFC involves both male and female cadets working together and training in the same environment. The social interaction between the female and male cadets has significantly led to vulnerabilities of sexual harassment with junior cadets. Furthermore, the low experience and suitability of some staff members in supervising young cadets from both genders failed to address the sexual harassments issues. Other group processes that were associated with organizational failure include excessive use of alcohol by cadets from both genders, low levels of supervision and security on accommodation.

Policies, Procedure and Control Systems

The policies and procedures of solving problems in an organization can be a key determinant of the success or failures. Australian Defense Force Academy (ADFA) had a long process and procedures of addressing the employees’ concerns.

The organization procedures were believed not effective for bringing justice among the central players as serious cases of sexual harassment took long before it was judged. Furthermore, if the organization could have taken short procedures of addressing concerns of female sexual harassment, the personal losses like the damaging reputation of central players, financial standing because of psychological harm and illness and organizational losses that occurred through staff turnover could not occur (Habiba, 2016). According to Gino and Margolis (2011 p.145), a lax organization culture fuels the prosperity of unethical behavior and if an organization responds slowly to remove or punish unethical behavior, it runs rampant of ethical employees.

The reluctance of the Australian Defense Force Academy’s (ADFA) control system to punish all the victims involved in all sorts of abuses failed the organization.  Despite, the female cadet’s victims experiencing psychological suffering like depressions and anxiety, control systems were still vulnerable to taking the action. This is evident in an incidence where a female cadet was seriously raped and injured by male cadet and even after reporting the concern to the authority who listen to the case no further actions were taken down against him.

 

Masculine culture and male dominance in ADFA

The masculine culture in the ADFA contributed to sexual harassment among the women as male felt they were superior and performed difficult tasks as compared to women. Men being physically strong than women were able to bully, harass and threaten them. Male dominance was also experienced in the Australia defense forces that accounted for sexual harassment. The imbalance of gender in the Australia defense forces was signified with the majority of cadets being recruited into the army as compared to women. According to Denissen (2010 p.1051) when a number of women entering the male-dominated workplace are small, there is an inherent risk.

According to Blyth and Sykes (2011 p.139), the bystander effect is a social psychological phenomenon whereby individuals are less likely to assist a victim when other people are present. Further research by Kozlov and Johansen (2010 p.711) showed that the larger the number of bystanders, the less likely the victim would get assistance. ADFA had a great number of bystanders that contributed to sexual harassments. This is evident in the “Skype scandal” when male cadets enjoyed watching the Skype film of Kate instead of taking appropriate action against the cadet.

Poor leadership was the main reason why women were subjected to sexual harassment. According to Muniapan and Dass (2009 p.326) when an organization experiences poor governance, workforce conflicts, bullying and harassment are usually very high. Despite many reported incidents of sexual harassments to the seniors, less action was taken against them. This is evident during the interview when cadet reported about sexual harassments only for her concerns to be noted down and no actions were further taken against the accused. Therefore, it is clear that male cadets knew nothing could be done to them despite the harassments. With a combination of both nepotism and poor leadership, the organization failed terribly to control sexual harassments. This is evident when the accused McDonald who was a central player in the Skype scandal was receiving a full support from a high ranked relative within the military (McPhedran 2011 p.4). Furthermore, it seemed there were strong connections and relationship between leaders and male cadets as the cadets were thought to be “superior” and backbone of the organization.

 

Post-Failure Responses

Following the reporting of the sex scandals at ADFA, several changes were implemented. With the clarity of the matter, the organization changed to a different institution which encouraged the reporting and addressing of sexual scandals. In relation to the upheld relations after the failure, changes were implemented for the management, education and supervision of cadets (Bickerton, 2015 p.32). In addition, the reporting of abuse was advised and the management of reported cases regarding sexual abuse was heightened. All reported cases were to be taken with a high priority and urgency which was intended for the minimization of sexual abuse at the institution. In addition, significant risk factors were identified and control measures, including the minimization of male and female contact time of cadets. In addition, the recruiting and training of cadets were greatly changed to ensure that sexual scandals were minimized by ensuring that there were different training strategies among male and female recruits. Furthermore, strict punishment was implemented for those found guilty of sexual offenses. The organization also made sure that those who reported abuse were protected by regulations which sought to minimize the victimization of reporters.

The abuse complains reported attracted the attention of authorities which would lead to trial and disqualification of the cadets from training if found guilty (Habiba, 2016 p.306). Moreover, efforts to build an appropriate culture of respect within the organization improved to reduce the occurrence of sexual scandals. For example, a safe reporting culture was introduced. The changes were to ensure that those who reported sexual abuse cases used the right channel and predefined methods. The changes benefitted the sexual abuse complainants as well as the organization since there was now a channel for improvement on the mitigation of the sexual scandals occurrence. The organization benefitted in that there was an anticipated improvement of solutions to sex scandal cases which would boost the organization’s public image and trust on the legal processes to be undertaken when sex scandals were reported. Consequently, the need for continuous vigilance on sex scandals would ensure that the changes were observed and those who differed prosecuted.

Generally, the changes were effective as the occurrence of sexual abuse reduced drastically. In addition, the efforts to respond, stop and report abuse was fruitful as the few abused cadets freely reported their issues and appropriate measures were quickly undertaken. The stakeholders appreciated the measures undertaken to prevent sexual scandals and assisted in solving the difficulties related to obtaining the complainant’s consent while pursuing the allegations. However, the measures taken were still not enough since various cases in sexual exploitation, especially of female cadets, were still prevalent.

To fully address the issues of sexual scandals, the management of ADFA should ensure that they operate within a stricter legal framework to ensure that tough disciplinary and administrative actions were imposed to perpetrators. In addition, a strong determination in dealing with the cases should be implemented. For example, determinations should be considered and evaluated on the amount of time male and female cadets spend time together while off-duty. Furthermore, social interactions which observed the new organizational culture on sex scandals should be exercised. Moreover, changes should be made that encouraged male cadet to fearfully report sexual abuse from fellow male and female colleagues without any form of stigmatization.

 

References

Ambrose, M.L., Arnaud, A. and Schminke, M., 2008. Individual moral development and ethical climate: The influence of person–organization fit on job attitudes. Journal of Business Ethics, 77(3), pp.323-333.

Angyal, C. (2018). Skype scandal reveals a decades-old rape culture in Australia’s military. [online] Feministing. Available at: https://feministing.com/2011/04/12/skype-scandal-reveals-a-decades-old-rape-culture-in-australia%e2%80%99s-military/ [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Australian Broadcasting Commission (2013). ADFA cadet sacked over Skype sex scandal. [online] ABC News. Available at: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-11-09/adfa-cadet-sacked-over-skype-sex-scandal/5080834 [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018]

Blyth, B.J. and Sykes, P.J., 2011. Radiation-induced bystander effects: what are they, and how relevant are they to human radiation exposures?. Radiation research, 176(2), pp.139-157.

Denissen, A.M., 2010. The right tools for the job: Constructing gender meanings and identities in the male-dominated building trades. Human Relations, 63(7), pp.1051-1069.

Gino, F. and Margolis, J.D., 2011. Bringing ethics into focus: How regulatory focus and risk preferences influence (un) ethical behavior. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 115(2), pp.145-156.

Habiba, P., 2017. The Australian Defence Force Academy Skype Sex Scandal: Understanding the Implications of Containment. Armed Forces & Society, 43(2), pp.300-321.Ingrained problem. The Age, p. 6. Retrieved from https://griffith.summon.serialssolutions.

Kozlov, M.D. and Johansen, M.K., 2010. Real behavior in virtual environments: Psychology experiments in a simple virtual-reality paradigm using video games. Cyberpsychology, behavior, and social networking, 13(6), pp.711-714.

Louis, D. and Lombart, C., 2010. Impact of brand personality on three major relational consequences (trust, attachment, and commitment to the brand). Journal of Product & Brand Management, 19(2), pp.114-130.

McPhedran, I. (2011b, April 11). Defence inquiry alert as victims join queue. The Advertiser. Retrieved from https://global.factiva.com.libraryproxy.griffith.edu.au/redir/default.aspx?P¼sa&an¼ADVTSR0020110410e74b00008&cat¼a&ep¼ASE

Muniapan, B. and Dass, M., 2009. An Indian leadership perspective from literature works of Poet Kannadasan. International Journal of Indian Culture and Business Management, 2(3), p.326.

Rock, D., 2010. Your brain at work: Strategies for overcoming distraction, regaining focus, and working smarter all day long. Journal of Behavioral Optometry, 21(5), p.130.

Snow, D., & Oakes, D. (2011, April 9). Sex, Skype and ridicule: An isolated incident or an

Stevens, B., 2008. Corporate ethical codes: Effective instruments for influencing behavior. Journal of Business Ethics, 78(4), pp.601-609.

Welch, D. (2018). Sex text revealed in Skype case. [online] The Sydney Morning Herald. Available at: https://www.smh.com.au/national/sex-text-revealed-in-skype-case-20110429-1e0t1.html [Accessed 27 Oct. 2018].

Wu, W., Wang, X., Paull, D. and Kesby, J., 2010. Defence force activities in marine protected areas: environmental management of Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia. Chinese journal of oceanology and limnology 3rd ed, pp.667-676.

Asafuddoula, M., Ray, T. and Sarker, R., 2011, June. An adaptive differential evolution algorithm and its performance on real world optimization problems. In Evolutionary Computation (CEC), 2011 IEEE Congress on (pp. 1057-1062). IEEE.

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