Ethics in War Essay

Ethics in War Essay

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According to Edgar Schien a prominent theorist of culture, organisational culture is the collectively learned basic assumptions and beliefs of a group. Elements of organisational culture can include: (a) stated and unstated values; (b) customs and rituals; (c) dialect/terminology (shoptalk) unique to a group; (d) overt and implicit behavioural expectations; and (e) metaphors and symbols. The military is an example of organisational culture with subcultures such as Air Force, ARMY and Navy.
Organisational cultural models suggest reinterpreting ethical differences as a product of different experiences rather than viewing conflicts as “right” verses “wrong.” Ethnocentrism is the tendency to view one’s own cultural groups system of beliefs and values as morally superior to others. Influences on ethical behaviour include (a) prior individual development as an ethical person; (b) the organisation as an ethical environment; and (c) implemented procedures that encourage ethical behaviour. Attempting to change someone else’s ethics requires investments of time and resources. Research indicates that observed ethical standards within an organisation will have a significant effect on individual behaviour. Informal values and norms also have a strong influence on individuals’ behaviour likewise do the actions of mentors and leaders within the organisation. Strategic leaders should review and understand that the importance of their actions, more than words alone, will have greatest impact to advocate idolised change in another’s ethics. Cultivating appropriate and rewarding ethical change from another can also be achieved through action, guidance, awareness, analysis and understanding an individuals’ primary and existing assumptions that lead ...


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...omply with jus in bello which illustrates a concrete example of military ethics with just war, providing more than a conceptual theory, rather evidences a correlation between military ethics and a just war.




Works Cited

Transparency International UK’s International Defence and Security Programme 28JUN11
Mark Pyman, Director of Transparency UK’s International Defence and Security Programme
Beauchamp, T.L., & Childress, J.F. (1994). Principles of biomedical ethics (4th ed.). New York: Oxford University Press.
James C. Curtain. The teaching of values and ethics in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) through the Professional Military Education and Training (PMET) Program. http://repository.mcd.edu.au/33/1/Whole_SRP_Final.pdf.

Martin L. Cook. The Moral Warrior – Ethics and Service in the U.S. Military (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2004) 21.

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