This paper aims to provide a brief history of the ethical issues of hazing in the military. The impact on various stakeholders is also provided before an analysis of the causes of hazing in the military and recommendations on how military leaders can promote tradition and a sense of belonging in a hazing-free military.
Hazing is an issue that has attracted much attention over the last few decades. College fraternities, high school programs, professional sports, and the military have all had their fair share of attention. The military is frequently held to a higher standard than these other organizations and has developed a bit of a black eye since the 1991 “Tailhook” scandal. Motion picture portrayals like that in the 1992 film “A Few Good Men” showed the public, not inaccurately, the dark side of command sponsored hazing. Hazing is not in keeping with the high standards of conduct that the U.S. Military aims to uphold and the ethical implications of these behaviors are diverse.
Merriam-Webster defines hazing as: an initiation process involving harassment; to harass by banter, ridicule, or criticism, or by exacting unnecessary or disagreeable work (Merriam-Webster, 2012). The United States Military has had a zero-tolerance policy on hazing ever since then Defense Secretary William Cohen tasked each service with developing guidance. Secretary Cohen was reacting to the outrage following NBC’s Dateline documentary on the Marine Corps’ blood pinning ceremony for jump-qualified Marines (Leppo, 2003). Blood-pinning involves newly qualified service-members having pins or medals, with the back clasps missing, punched into their skin by numerous senior personnel (Landay, 1997).
But, hazing is not someth...
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...ulatory Intelligence Database.
Landay, J. (1997, February 10). Hazing rituals in military are common - and abusive. Las Vegas Sun. Retrieved from http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/1997/feb/10/hazing-rituals-in-military-are- common---and-abusiv/
Leppo, D. (2003). Crossing the Line Is as Eternal as the Sea. U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 129(7), 78.
Merriam-Webster. (2012). Hazing. Retrieved from http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/hazing
Pershing, J. L. (2006). Men and Women's Experiences with Hazing in a Male- Dominated Elite Military Institution. Men & Masculinities, 8(4), 470-492.
Rosenberg, M. (2011, August 26). Hazing led to Marine's suicide, military report says. San Jose Mercury News (CA).
Trevino, L., & Nelson, K. (2011). Managing business ethics - straight talk about how to do it right. (5 ed, pp. 1-148). Danvers, MA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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