Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

William P. Foster, EdD, Director; Joseph C. Rost, PhD; Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD


case study, ethics program, General Dynamics, Human resources management, Leadership studies, organizational change


A case study approach was used to evaluate organizational change that occurred between 1986 and 1989 at General Dynamics Corporation. The purpose of the study was to determine how persons in leading positions can realistically expect to plan and implement significant, planned organizational changes. The changes specifically studied were those which resulted from the planning and implementation of the Ethics Program. The Ethics Program at General Dynamics was examined not only as a case example of a planned, intended change, but as a vehicle for broad strategic goals pertaining to human resources management. Historic data from corporate documents and surveys, and current data from a resurvey were used to establish changes in trends in the organization. Interviews were used to explore the planning process and general planning-related change trends. Two groups of employees, totaling twenty individuals, were interviewed. The planning group (five individuals) provided specific information on planning processes, and the cultural group (fifteen individuals) provided general information on the culture of the organization and culturally related changes. Results indicated that the Ethics Program was successful in meeting its specific objectives of making employees aware of the standards of conduct and enforcing conformance to those standards. The broader human resources goals intended by the program's designers did not appear to have been as successfully implemented. A conflict between two distinctively different sets of cultural values appeared to have offset many of the intended changes. Findings further indicated that the Ethics Program was most likely an inappropriate vehicle for the implementation of general, strategic human resources goals.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access