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Public Policy and Administration

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In life, it is usually hard to satisfy two warring sides, the logic of duty to seniors and the logic of duty to one’s values. In day to day life people are faced with dilemmas, and at times end up doing contrary to the societal expectation. A dilemma is a situation where an individual does not know the right thing to do because the options are equally risky. It mostly occurs in situations where, what duty demands from an individual is contradictory to what he thinks is right for him in that situation. In such cases, the individual is usually torn between satisfying what duty requires of him and satisfying his own longings. If the person does what, in his right finds conducive, the society will, most probably, not be satisfied, and he is prone to criticism. In the case concerning Rockwood, he is faced with the dilemma of whether to follow orders or to go and save lives of the informants to better their battle against the Hitaians.

The Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is applicable in explaining the actions of Rockwood. The two topmost needs, self-esteem and self-actualization needs, lead to Rockwood’s action. The self-esteem needs comprise being respected, respecting others and respecting oneself (Maslow, 1943). Under these needs, Maslow argues that, people get engaged to be recognized and earn respect. In support of this, Rockwood, in the current case, went into the prison contrary to the orders in search of respect for the prisoners and his recognition. He also failed to resign once requested to since he felt that he deserved justice and by resigning he would have denied himself the respect he deserved. Secondly, the self-actualization needs entail people being motivated by seeking self-fulfillment. The actions of Rockwood are justified under these needs according to Maslow. Through trying to intervene in the fate of the prisoners, Rockwood would have felt satisfied. This explains his action of telling the warden to inform the American government that he was in prison. By so doing, he felt that he had made an achievement (Maslow, 1943). If he failed to intervene in the fate of the prisoners, he could have felt that he has not achieved what he ought to have achieved (Maslow, 1943).

According to the zone of acceptance, the actions of Rockwood are as well justified. The zone of acceptance weighs actions depending on leadership. Rockwood’s senior failed to respond to his requests to go and search the prisons (Frankl, 1946). In response, Rockwood, decided to do it contrary to the orders. He had subjected to the dictatorial leadership until he could no longer submit. Therefore, it is seen that he exhibited low level of acceptance zone. Even though, his actions were contrasting the commands he was supposed to follow, Rockwood had followed them until he could no long do. The intentions of his actions were in favor of the good of the majority, therefore, making them acceptable to the general public (Frankl, 1946).

In conclusion, in my opinion, the actions of Rockwood were not appropriate. Having been recruited to the disciplined forces, and underwent training, it was wrong for him to defy. There are many ways of handling dilemmas. Regardless of his esteem and actualization needs, Rockwood should not have gone to inspect the prison against the orders. It was still wrong of him to tell the warden to inform the American government of his presence because if he did not, he could probably have achieved his mission of saving the prisoners, his informants. Better still he could have accepted the resignation offer instead of facing the court martial. Although by so doing he gained popularity and recognition, resigning would have benefited him financially since he could have been paid resignation compensations.

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