ETHICS AND LEADERSHIP

See attached for instructions.

Read:

· Required

· Cooper, T. L. (2012). The responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

· Chapter 8: Safeguarding Ethical Autonomy in Organizations: Dealing with Unethical Superiors and Organizations

· Module notes

Module 7: Module Notes: Ethical Autonomy

In Chapter 8, Cooper (2012) describes ethical autonomy as a public administrator placing limits on his or her administrative responsibility and organizational loyalty. There are two aspects to consider when an individual employee seeks to challenge an unethical organizational culture, including the multiple sources of organizational pressure and individual autonomy. Recall in Module 2 (Chapter 4) that administrative responsibility involves objective and subjective responsibilities, and these can sometimes come into conflict.

For example, when your supervisor takes part in unethical behavior, you may face a conflict between your fiduciary responsibilities and your responsibility to your supervisor.

If this conflict occurs, exercising ethical autonomy can be useful. As Cooper (2012) reminds us, the ultimate responsibility is to the citizenry, which is “expressed fundamentally through the U.S. Constitution and specifically through legislation,” as well as values espoused in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Federalist Papers and Anti-Federalist papers (p. 198). Ethical autonomy involves limiting administrative responsibility and organizational loyalty (Cooper, 2012).

Individual Autonomy

Cooper (2012) identifies three components of individual autonomy to aid employees in dealing with conflicting responsibilities and unethical organizations or supervisors. These are:

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_L1_G2_v1.jpgTranscending organizational boundaries

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_L1_G2_v2.jpgConstraining organizational power and protecting individual rights

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_L1_G2_v3.jpg Maintaining self-awareness of values, rights, needs, duties, and obligations within and beyond the organization (Cooper, 2012, p. 231).

Reference

Cooper, T. L. (2012). The responsible administrator: An approach to ethics for the administrative role (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Module 7: Module Notes: Whistle-Blowing

When faced with egregious behavior within their organization, public administrators may have to fulfill their obligation to the citizenry in a more extreme way—by whistle-blowing—which ostensibly is, as Cooper (2012) describes it, a breach of loyalty to the organization.

There are less extreme ways to express autonomy, which include:

· Confronting or reporting a supervisor

· Requesting either a one-time role change or a permanent role change

· Resigning from the position

Risks in Whistle-Blowing

You saw from the assigned articles that often employees are retaliated against after they blow the whistle on their employer, as was the case for Robert Kobus at the FBI and Paula Pedene at the Phoenix VA Hospital. Knowing that retaliation might occur is something employees should factor in when deciding to blow the whistle, as is the risk of the matter taking several years to be resolved.

Other Considerations in Whistle-Blowing

Other considerations include whether whistle-blowing will involve divulging classified or highly sensitive information, which was the case with Edward Snowden. In the first discussion board, you will debate the appropriateness of Snowden’s actions.

Module 7: Module Notes: Role of Social Media

Social media pervades our 21st century world and is something that public administrators cannot ignore. For the purposes of this course, social media includes social and professional networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, and microblogging sites like Twitter; also blogs, YouTube, and photo-sharing sites like Instagram.

Social media impacts the way public organizations can communicate with their constituents, and these platforms can be used as tools in the following ways:

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_Role_v1.pngRequest feedback

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_Role_v2.pngDescribe the agency’s ongoing activities

Macintosh HD:private:var:folders:z7:myr0nqzd0pl8y04h8pryb_8r0000gn:T:TemporaryItems:MPA604_M7_Role_v3.pngProvide links to additional information, etc.

Hashtags can quickly give a topic or news item traction and provide a centralized way for users to search and gather information on a topic.

There are pros and cons to using social media, which you will research and discuss in the second discussion board of this module.

Module 7: Module Notes: Social Media Policies

For now, let us examine one practical aspect that public administrators should consider for their organizations—having a social media policy.

What to Include in Social Media Policies

The social media policy should outline acceptable and non-acceptable ways in which employees can use social media to communicate with the public. There are samples on the Institute for Local Government’s website at:

Institute For Local Government. (n.d.).Sample social media policies (Links to an external site.). Retrieved from http://www.ca-ilg.org/post/sample-social-media-policies

One example of a social media policy is the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) procedures on “Using Social Media to Communicate with the Public.” These formal procedures indicate that there are separate procedures for using social media on the EPA intranet, called “Using Social Media Internally at EPA.”

A Key Distinction About Social Media Policies

One important distinction regarding social media policies, however, is between governmental and non-governmental organizational policies. Most social media content is generally considered speech that has First Amendment protections; therefore, government employers must be cautious about what social media content they seek to prohibit to avoid violating their employees’ or constituents’ free speech rights.

Exceptions

Note that not all content is protected, including when speech is obscene or discriminatory on the basis of race, gender, religion, and other protected classes. Commercial speech (i.e., advertisements) is given less protection than noncommercial speech. The facts of any situation have to be analyzed on a case-by-case basis. Good tips regarding moderating government social media pages can be found here:

Chawla, A. (2015). Moderating social media comments: Clearing the confusion (Links to an external site.). GovTech Social. Retrieved from http://www.govtech.com/social/Moderating-Social-Media-Comments-Clearing-the-Confusion.html

Legal Considerations

Other legal considerations are somewhat beyond the scope of this class, but are worth at least mentioning. They include:

· Employee privacy

· Defamation

· Disciplinary actions due to social media postings

· Employer liability for employees’ social media postings 

**MPA506 M7D1

Read and respond (approximately 250 words each) 

Peer One

   I side with the belief that Snowden acted unjustifiably. His actions seemed to be more oriented in hurting the National Security Agency or the US Government than correcting specific wrongdoing. Additionally, there is an internal whistleblowing mechanism within the US government, which allows employees to report suspicion of wrongdoing in an anonymous system, thus negating the fear of retaliation. Furthermore, given the generality of the items disclosed, no apparent wrongdoing is described so much as just an amassed cache of documents stolen over a period of time. In fact, it was noted that he had accessed 1.7 million files, and about seven thousand were released (History.com Editors, 2018). There is no way that he could have evaluated the worth of these documents and utilize them to make a case about the wrongdoing. If this were justified whistleblowing, we likely would have seen evidence that Snowden tried to use the correct pathways before going public.

Additionally, there would have been a focus on the nature of the documents disclosed. While some new policies and laws came about some of these disclosures, he should have followed proper procedures to maintain national security and the safety of employees (History.com Editors, 2018). Moreover, just because new policies came to be due to his actions does not mean that it was his intention.

Social media provides a non-fact-oriented issue network where individuals can cater to messages to larger political beliefs without professional requirements like neutrality or other forms of professional justification (Qin, 2015). However, there becomes a sensation that if enough people believe something, that is the fact. This is further worsened by the mechanisms in social media that circulate information. Specifically, Qin (2015) discusses the effect of semantic leads through hashtags, which serves to bring individuals more information similar to what they have already “liked” or “followed.” This creates a feedback system where individuals who want to believe the government is corrupt can receive more information, justified or not, reaffirming that view. While this concept can be applied to news networks with unified biases, they still abide by some professional and journalistic standards (Qin, 2015).

            The government has to safeguard national security. It cannot be permissive to individuals who take actions to harm and degrade the Department of Defense’s ability to maintain America’s protection. However, transparency, where possible, is imperative to the continued support of the American taxpayers who ultimately fund these organizations. While the Freedom of Information Act grants much transparency, the government can expand these programs to further garner trust. For individuals who simply want to believe that the government is corrupt, it is unlikely that any amount of information or transparency will change their minds. They will just view statements as just more lies.

            Governmental entities should maintain a social media presence so that they can provide fact-checking where possible. This will help inform open-minded citizens about the facts to help counter or explain anything that may arise during a whistleblowing incident. It will also help notify the administration of social trends that may impact them politically.

References

History.com Editors (2018, June 26). Edward Snowden discloses U.S. government operations. Retrieved from https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/edward-snowden-discloses-u-s-government-operations

Qin, J. (2015). Hero on Twitter, traitor on news: How social media and legacy news frame Snowden. International Journal of Press/Politics, 20(2), p. 166. doi:10.1177/1940161214566709. Retrieved from http://vlib.excelsior.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edb&AN=101691354&site=eds-live&scope=site

Peer Two

It is hard to argue the facts of the Edward Snowden case without drawing the conclusion that he acted inappropriately.  The basis for this opinion is simple, he was placed in a position of trust where he would be privy to issues of national security and disclosure of that information was not allowed ex pet through very specific channels.  It is this last part that confirms that his actions were inappropriate.  By virtue of having the security clearance that he did, he knew full well the standards he was expected to uphold and the avenues that he had available to him to report any issues that were illegal or unethical.  As respected journalist Ed Morrissey points out, “Cleared personnel are also briefed on ways to blow the whistle on illegality, unethical behavior and other wrongdoing – through company management, through the agency that grants the clearance or, if need be, by going to Congress. None of these paths involve passing sensitive materials to the press” (Morrissey, 2013).  This would have been a completely different story had Edward Snowden followed proper protocol and routed his concerns through Congress.  Yes, I know that arguably this would have meant that the American population as a whole would never had known that the United States government was secretly taping lines and collecting information, but our elected representatives would have.  It would have been their responsibility to have closed door hearing or make inquiries and discover the what the extent of the issue was and then hold those necessary responsible.  By “end running” the process that is laid out, Edward Snowden was attempting to demonstrate his belief that the process was going to fail and so he made the choice to act inappropriately.

As for social media and its role in whistleblowing cases, I am still trying to develop my opinion.  I say that because I am not a person that has social media, so I am not versed on its usage or what is being shared or discussed.  If the conversation was merely about if it should be used in situations like the Edward Snowden case, then I would say no way.  As I don’t think that is really the question, then I would say that I need to become better educated on the position of social media in our society today.  Let me be clear that I am not oblivious to it, or what its construct is, I merely have a position against its usage.  Call it my nearly 25 years in a career field in the military that deals with national secrets, that I have seen too many examples of “over sharing”.  Because of that, I have made sure to stay away from it and quite honestly, I feel like I am better for it.  From the outside looking in, I can’t help but have the feeling that social media is the gateway to most of the drama surrounding most people’s daily life.  From relationship issues, to cyber stalking, to the political environment, that is what can be found and none of that interests me one bit.  I am aware that my position on social media will have to evolve as I transition into the world of public administration and I am prepared to do that, I just haven’t had to start yet.  The article that we had to read for this module gives me all the motivation to make that transition soon, as it will help me to better understand how social media and legacy media consumers see things differently when it says “The study further identified media frames on social media and legacy news differ in two ways: word selection and word salience. In addition, the study discussed the challenges and opportunities of framing analysis in the context of social media” (Qin, 2015).  In truth, it seems so fascinating that the opinions could be different that I may work on that Facebook account this week, or not!

References:

Morrissey, E. (2013).  Edward Snowden Broke the Law and Should Be Prosecuted.  The New York Times.  nytimes.com.  Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/06/11/in-nsa-leak-case-a-whistle-blower-or-a-criminal/edward-snowden-broke-the-law-and-should-be-prosecuted

Qin, J. (2015).  Hero on Twitter, Traitor on News: How Social Media and Legacy News Frame Snowden.  Sage Journals.  Journals-sagepub-com.vlib.excelsior.edu.  Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub-com.vlib.excelsior.edu/doi/10.1177/1940161214566709

Peer Three

Eric Snowden is both a traitor and a hero. Eric Snowden leaked NSA document that showed how the United States government was spying on citizens via personal communication and doing so to people who were not linked to any type of terrorism.  The United States was saving private emails, phone conversation, and web histories without our consent or a court order. Snowden is a hero because his leak caused a global debate over United States surveillance activities and protecting of private citizens rights. His leak resulted int the government passing laws restrict how law enforcement agencies obtain surveillance information and forced companies to protect or encrypt the personal information of users. Snowden’s act did not damage national security nor did his leak place the lives of American citizens in danger. Snowden’s leak let the American citizens know that the government was violating our civil liberties.

Snowden was traitor because he could have leaked the information in a better manner. The could have legally obtained whistle blower status and then leaked the information. Snowden instead leaked the information to foreign journalists and newspapers, which makes it seem as if he planned this for some other reason. Snowden was traitor because his leaks damaged U.S. relationships with other foreign governments, which in turn undermined U.S. alliances all over the world and our ability to help protect others in the world who cannot protect themselves. He is a traitor because he alone decided what too leak and he leaked too much of the wrong information.

I personally don’t think there is a enough protection within the whistle-blowers act. I think that some people choose the method that Snowden did because of this. I believe that social media and the internet is plays a big part in whistle blowing because within seconds whatever someone wants the world to know it can permanently be sent all over the world in seconds. The internet has allowed citizens to band together quicker and be outraged over certain issues. The internet has away of bring people from different countries together for the benefit of all. The internet has become the watchdog for the government and gives the people the ability to know what is going on and demand change.

**MPA506 M7D2

Read and respond (approximately 250 words each) 

Peer One

The negatives and positives of social media are realized through the same component, which is the dissemination speed. Specifically, information from and about a governmental organization can spread to a broader audience almost instantaneously. This is beneficial as an organization can communicate helpful information about a current situation and provide near-real-time updates. Another benefit is that the organization can reach younger audiences to help keep them informed in a more comfortable format and more likely to follow. Social media also allows organizations to answer citizens’ questions outside of conferences or other official gatherings, which helps maximize the organization’s transparency.

One of the adverse realizations of this speed is now a disgruntled employee can anonymously post derogatory comments about an organization and have this spread like wildfire. Additionally, social media accounts can more easily be exploited if an adversary gains access to the account and posts in bad faith. Moreover, with the enhanced speed information can travel, and improperly vetted post or retweet can cause the administration to look bad or offend viewers. Therefore, an administration should be careful and cognizant of the potential interpretations of their words or activities.

FEMA has had a fair amount of blowback after Hurricane Katrina, so it is refreshing to see that the administration has been able to utilize technology to overcome some of the problems it encountered in that period. Specifically, they had trouble with communication with other governmental entities and the public. However, during Hurricane Isaac in 2012, FEMA used social media to enhance communication and collaboration through Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Flickr (U.S. Department of Homeland Security [DHS], 2013). Early into the event, it was noted that the hurricane would be hitting Florida during the Republican National Convention (DHS, 2013). FEMA began using #Issac to spread information and real-time updates about the storm and its path (DHS, 2013). It also provided personal preparedness information to viewers (DHS, 2013). FEMA also used this hashtag to collaborate with other agencies and non-governmental organizations so that viewers could have a 360-degree view of the situation (DHS, 2013). As the storm changed its path towards New Orleans, FEMA began to use the #Issac along with a new #NOLA to target their messages of warnings and alerts to the people in the city (DHS, 2013). During and after the storm, FEMA used these platforms to provide information such as closures, flooding, damage, and other dangers (DHS, 2013). It also enabled citizens to post videos and photographs of the damage (DHS, 2013). FEMA then collected this information and used it to inform their aid efforts (DHS, 2013).

I would have taken very similar efforts as FEMA did. The feedback system in place used by FEMA seems to have all but solved the communication problem that was seen in Hurricane Katrina. During Hurricane Katrina, even the top leadership was unaware of developments such as people amassing in the Superdome with no assistance being directed there. Meanwhile, during Hurricane Isaac, this feedback and assessment system allowed dynamic planning to meet developing and shifting needs. Additionally, this likely enhanced the public’s confidence that FEMA was working diligently and able to meet the need presented by the disaster.

References

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (2013). Innovative uses of social media in emergency management. Retrieved from https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Social-Media-EM_0913-508_0.pdf

Peer Two

A previously stated, my social media experience is significantly limited compared to most in society today.  While that is the case, I am not without exposure so it is that indirect exposure that I will attempt to focus on.  The pros of social media for a public organization starts with exposure.  The ability to communicate with their cliental or even to indirectly send pertinent information out makes that platform the “go to” for mass information distribution.  With that contact, they can generate discussions that can lead to positive and negative outcomes.  It is those negative outcomes that seem to be focused on the most, or those negative replies to a post that draw the highest level of attention.  In truth, I believe that it is this negative feedback aspect that turns most people away from social media all together, but I digress.  As far as the limitations go, I think that we discussed it in the previous post with Edward Snowden, but it is one of information that is released.  By that I mean that the social media platform is so immediate and so wide ranging that information can get away from an organization quickly.  In my military experience this is always an issue on deployments with members wanting to share their locations or even a bigger issue with posting pictures from the area of responsibility.  It has never failed that someone on a deployment would post a picture of something that they shouldn’t and compromise the safety of everyone in the unit.

Using my previous point as the base, I wanted to show how that something so simple as a fitness application could cause the lives of service members to be in jeopardy.  “A fitness app that posts a map of its users’ activity has unwittingly revealed the locations and habits of military bases and personnel, including those of American forces in Iraq and Syria, security analysts say.  The app, Strava, which calls itself “the social network for athletes,” allows millions of users to time and map their workouts and to post them online for friends to see, and it can track their movements at other times” (Perez-Pena & Rosenberg, 2018).  Strava is a fitness application for athletes who like to log and post their running feats, biking routes and swimming prowess and it came under fire for what is known as “heat mapping”.  This is where locations of workout activities are posted so that others can run, bike or swim those routes and vie for the best possible times in those events and be crowned KOM (or king of the mountain and yes, I have a few myself).  In 2018, 20-year-old college student tweeted out “If you think I am being alarmist, you should see the things we aren’t putting online” (Lewis, 2018) and the military firestorm began.  These heat maps showed exact locations of foreign military bases and especially the perimeters, which of course were the fence lines that the service members were running.  Meaning that unwittingly and in the “name of fitness”, foreign bases were being revealed to the world.  This led to Strava being forced to redesign the heat mapping technology so that sensitive areas could no longer be mapped, posted or shared.  As for how I would have handled the situation, it would have been exactly like this.  The risk to life was too great to allow for the heat mapping in those areas to continue.  While this can be seen as another way that the government has muted a social media platform, this one was in fact necessary.  Changing the way that Strava works as a social media platform has saved lives of service members and that is all the justification that is needed.

References:

 Lewis, J. (2018).  Twitter.  twitter.com.  Retrieved from https://twitter.com/arawnsley/status/957770981820559360

Perez-Pena, R. & Rosenberg, M. (2018).  Strava Fitness App Can Reveal Military Sites, Analysts Say.  The New York Times.  nytimes.com.  Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/29/world/middleeast/strava-heat-map.html

Peer Three

Social media in the workplace has its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of using social media:

· Helps with recruitment by publicizing organizational needs and information.

· Helps the organization to market its brand.

· Helps the organization to deliver internal communication.

· Helps to engage employees within the organization.

· Helps to promote social learning and knowledge sharing by allowing employee to connect to solve problems.

· Helps to communicate during emergencies and disasters.

· Helps employees to professional network with other peers, keep pace with competitors, and attract other clients who align with the organizational brand.

Disadvantages are:

· Security of internal company systems, outside networks allow hackers, viruses, and privacy breaches.

· Harassment – employees may engage in harassing behaviors towards other employees.

· Negative exposure – posting from former or current employees, or clients casting the organization in a negative light.

· Legal violation – employers are susceptible to charges of discrimination, privacy violations, and interference with employees’ rights when social medial is used in the workplace.

· Potential loss of productivity – employees may start to spend too much time on social media and not enough time doing their actual work.

· Wage and Hour issues – social media use could cause nonexempt employees who are restricted to certain work hours to incur additional compensable hours

(What are the Pros and Cons of Using Social Media in the Workplace, nd).

.

Social media has changed how people receive news. In 2016, battery manufacturer Samsung SDI’s market value plummeted by more than half a billion dollars when Tesla boss Elon Musk tweeted that the company was working with Panasonic on its next electric car. To tweet something or post anything on the internet that is not true is problematic. The person who tweeted the information can appear not trustworthy and the tweet itself can cause an organization to be sued or to lose billions in revenue. Social media is a good avenue to use but before we use it, we must ensure that whatever we are about to post won’t her you or you’re the organization.

References:

What are the pros and cons of using social media in the workplace? What should we include in a policy (nd). Reterieved from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/socialnetworkingsitespolicy.aspx