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Bulldog decision

Travis Lee Cyphers (Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA)
Julianne Renee Apodaca (Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York, USA)

Publication date: 24 December 2021

Issue publication date: 9 March 2022


Theoretical basis

The theoretical basis for this case is a focus on ethical decision-making based upon a decision-making tree proposed by Bagley et al. (2003). Once multiple options are determined as ethical, integrating authentic leadership into the decision-making process can help leaders made difficult decisions.

Research methodology

The authors conducted extensive research through IBISWorld, EBSCOhost, and academic journals to review ethical decision-making and authentic leadership. The authors successfully piloted the case with over 100 undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in leadership courses.

Case overview/synopsis

The case describes an ethical decision a young commanding officer must make. A soldier under their leadership has been charged with an inappropriate relationship with a minor. The officer must decide between two actions that are legal within the military justice system. Each decision has ramifications that will significantly affect the organization.

Complexity academic level

The case is best taught in undergraduate and graduate leadership courses. Course participants do not need a detailed understanding of military leadership or military law to apply fundamental concepts.



Disclaimer. This case is intended to be used as the basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. The case was compiled from published sources.


Cyphers, T.L. and Apodaca, J.R. (2022), "Bulldog decision", , Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 278-291.



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