Communication, Ethics, And A Command Decision

Write 4-5 page analysis of ethical aspects surrounding a decision of the commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt to disseminate a plea for help for his COVID-19-stricken ship, and write a communication detailing lessons learned from the incident.
While it may seem that ethical communication is less often the norm than it once was, experienced communications professionals know that credibility can be undermined if ethical norms are not observed in communications. Understanding the complexities that often arise will leave you better prepared to craft effective communications.
Communication appears to be a rather straightforward topic to many people. Hence, we may never be exposed to any formal communication training before we enter the workforce or an institution of higher education. Does this mean that it really is that simple? You probably agree that this is not the case.
The smallest number of individuals involved in communication is, in fact, one—yourself! The next level of complexity involves two individuals, such as the communication that occurs in a personal relationship. Even though applying communication models is more straightforward with fewer the number of individuals involved, that does not necessarily mean it is easy or simple.
As we add more and more individuals and create business models and organizational structures, communication becomes quite complicated. This course provides insight into the communication approaches within all sizes of organizations and supplies tools for approaching these as effectively as possible, regardless of the number of individuals involved.
Communication Models
Early models of communication often looked at the topic from a standpoint of mechanical output and electronic transmission. Later, more people-oriented models were developed, but most still consist at their core of the basic four elements of communication:

  • Sender.
  • Receiver.
  • Message.
  • Channel.
  • That is, communication takes place between a sender and a receiver. A message is sent from the sender to a receiver via a channel. A message is sent in an environment that may present barriers to successful transmission. Sometimes, there is noise in the system. Sometimes, feedback is returned to the sender.
    Shared Reality
    For communication to be considered successful, the message must be received, but additionally, a shared reality must be created. Consider how the concept of shared reality relates to organizations, especially as a way of assessing whether a particular communication event was successful.
    Captain Crozier, Commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, wrote and emailed a controversial letter that pleaded for help for crew members stricken by the Covid-19 virus in March of 2020. The communication was sent to several recipients and was eventually leaked to the news media. The situation became front-page news and was actively debated in the media. Senior leaders believed that Captain Crozier may have avoided his chain of command for fear that his immediate leader would suppress the issue and expose the sailors to unnecessary danger. His decisions and actions that lead up to his writing of the letter are fraught with ethical dilemmas.
    In this assessment you are asked to analyze ethical aspects surrounding Captain Crozier’s decision to widely disseminate the emailed letter.
    Thoroughly research the issues using the Internet and the articles provided in Resources. You may need to conduct additional research to support your analysis.
    As you can see by your research, there is a lot going on behind the scenes in this scenario. However, it is clear that the Captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt was facing a difficult ethical situation and tried to find the best way to communicate his concerns. There are many questions that likely come to mind, such as:
  • What was the dilemma facing the Captain? How might he have weighed his decision?
  • Should the Captain have sent the message? Why or why not?
  • Was the content of the communication appropriate, taking into the consideration the recipient(s) of the letter? Did he distribute the letter for maximum effect?
  • What should he have done differently?
  • Did the Captain violate Navy ethical guidelines? Are his actions at odds with communication guidelines? Is that how he should be judged?
  • Was his punishment justified?
  • How do you think his crew felt? Is that relevant?
  • Instructions
    Consider the Captain’s decision to send the letter, the manner in which the letter was sent, and the recipient(s) of the letter. Complete both parts of this assessment in a single Word document.
  • Analyze the ethical decision that the Captain faced as it relates to how he communicated his plea and in the context of his position. Consider the sender, receiver, message, and channel.
  • Analyze the primary failures and successes of the Captain’s communication strategy. Make sure to consider how the letter was distributed, the Captain’s possible intent, and the content of the letter.
  • If this situation had occurred in the private sector and not the military, would the outcomes have been similar or different? Defend your reasoning.
    Imagine that you were the commanding officer of another naval ship who had followed this sequence of events closely. Your ship’s Public Affairs Officer reports to you and is responsible for many of the ship’s external communications, and you are anxious to share your lessons learned from the USS Theodore Rooseveltsituation.
    Send a communication to your Public Affairs Officer that conveys and re-enforces the primary lesson(s) learned from the incident on the USS Theodore Roosevelt. Be sure you focus on the actions of the Captain. The medium is your choice, but it is also very important, so state the medium you have chosen within your message and the reason you feel it is the most appropriate medium to use. Address possible reasons such as confidentiality, tone, convention, et cetera.
    Additional Requirements
  • Complete both parts of this assessment in a single Word document.

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