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Case Study- West Point

In: Business and Management

Submitted By 11M22
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Lt. General Sidney Berry, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy at West Point has been faced with a series of difficult decisions after being notified of underclassmen at the campus where caught cheating, a violation of the Cadet Honor Code with the Academy. All cadets that are found guilty by the Honor System are subject to expulsion. The decisions Berry is faced with raises issues concerning ethics, organizational adjustment and change, and action planning to tackle the arising conflict. Through acting in the best wishes of West Point’s standards, Lt. General Berry must also heavily consider the interests of the Department of the Army, Congress, West Point alumni, current cadets on campus, and the public with the gaining acknowledgement of the incident.


Throughout the incident, questions arised in a variety of avenues regarding West Point’s standards and the possibility of misalignment of the discipline displayed versus the objectives of the Academy. Questions such as whether the Honor Code was to general to the extent of not being able to evenly and fairly enforce conduct or whether constitutional guarantees of due process were considered during the adjudication of disputes arising under the Honor Code. This incident could also be simply a result of cadets pushing the limits of the Academy of what they are and aren’t able to get away with; much like a child is with his or her parental figures. Nevertheless, the integrity of not only the Academy but also Lt. General Berry was being tested on the national stage.


The theory that is most applicable and represents this case most closely is personal accountability. After reading the cheating incidents (A&B), it seemed like the overwhelming case was that cadets were willing to confess the truth after being caught of breaking the Honor Code. West Point is a highly accredited Academy and only accepts representation from the best of the best across the nation. Those individuals surely know the difference between right and wrong and they simply crossed the boundaries of the standards of conduct and policy that were implemented by West Point. The cadets of the Academy should be held accountable for their actions and accept the consequences of those actions. According to the Cadet Honor Code, “A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do and that honor, to cadets, is a word that denotes several things and connotes even more.” All cadets take the same oath and should be held the same standards with absolutely no excuses.


To rectify a solution of the cheating incident that occurred at West Point, a few different actions could have taken place. First, the Academy could tighten up the acceptance of students with the existing policy but also with recommendation of a written essay of why they are pursuing the academy for studies and why they suit the lifestyle of a cadet. Perhaps another strategy of solution would be the equal treatment of all cadets, regardless of rank or age. This strategy would significantly decrease the amount of “acting out” by a cadet to test the standards of conduct implemented by the Academy.


Further concerns could certainly arise with government policy and the constant evolving changes occurring in that sector. West Point could determine that they are making changes that best suit their Academy but those of government authority or even the public eye very well could disagree. The question arises of what is concerned right and wrong or even unrealistic or too rigid.

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