Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Examining the forces, causes, and elements of practical drift: A case study
by Adams, Roy H., Jr., Ph.D., Capella University, 2014, 126; 3624518
Abstract (Summary)

When a crisis captures the attention of a nation and the world community, the questions are always Why did it happen and How did it happen. Such an event was revealed on April 28, 2004 with a report on CBS's 60 Minute II and in an article by Seymour Hersh posted online in the New Yorker magazine April 30, 2004. The event was the detainee abuse by U.S. Army soldiers at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq. The abuse occurred between late 2003 and early 2004, and the story shook the U.S. government and the coalition partners who helped the United States bring down the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. This case study examined how the detainee abuse occurred and why the detainee abuse occurred by applying the theory of practical drift to the events in Iraq. However, the study revealed that while the abuse was conducted in Iraq the forces and causes were not confined to Iraq. The forces that contributed to the breakdown in soldier discipline in Iraq were the result of leadership and doctrinal decisions made decades earlier and governmental decisions made to fight the War on Terror. The study also identified stages of practical drift that illustrate how practical drift occurs in organizations. The case study avoided dealing with the actual events of the detainee abuse but concentrated on the elements that contributed to setting the conditions for the abuse. Practical drift in the war fighting doctrine development of the U.S. Army and the policies adopted by the U.S. administration to fight the War on Terror were causes of the detainee abuse identified in the case study. Individual behavioral traits of dismissive responsibility and deflected responsibility also contributed to practical drift and ultimately the detainee abuse.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Butler, Clifford
Commitee: Bane, Jeff, Goldberg, Edward M.
School: Capella University
Department: School of Business and Technology
School Location: United States -- Minnesota
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Behavioral psychology, Organization Theory, Organizational behavior, Military studies
Keywords: Deflection of responsibility, Detainee abuse, Dismissive responsibility, Iraq, Leadership, Organizational culture, Practical drift
Publication Number: 3624518
ISBN: 9781303981340
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