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Relation With Organizational Behaviour

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A Few Good Men, directed by Rob Reiner, was released worldwide on 11the December 1992. It is produced by David Brown and Andrew Scheinman. It’s running time is 130 minutes and is rated R (for language) The cast includes Tom Cruise (Lt. Daniel Kaffee), Jack Nicholson (Col. Nathan R. Jessep), Demi Moore (Lt. Cdr JoAnne Galloway) and Kevin Bacon (Capt. Jack Ross).

The story revolves around a murder case on the basis of Code Red, which was basically an order by Colonel to his two officers, Wolfgang Bodison (Cpl Harold W. Dawson) and James Marshall (Pfc Louden Downey). After the murder of Santiago they both are shifted to Washington DC and then, Tom Cruise along with Demi Moore and Kevin Pollak (a friend and research colleague) fights their case.

Movie in relation with Organizational Behaviour

1.1 Milgram Experiment

A few good men is a very good example of Milgram’s Experiment.

According to Milgram “ordinary decent, people, acting within an organizational hierarchy will unquestiongly perform appalling actions.” and after watching this movie Milgram’s statement seems to be quite true. In the movie the junior officers believed that it was their duty to obey the orders given to them by their senior officer, whatever the consequences may be.

In the movie according to Col. Nathan R. Jessep “if you are a marine assigned to rifle security company wind ward GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA, and you are given an order, you follow it or you pack your bags”. Col. jessep thought that the one who doesn’t obey the order breaks the chain of command and should be given Code red (a type of extreme negative reinforcement) to those officers who, according to the unit members, have broken the chain of command and dared to disobey the orders given to them by their senior officers.

Pfc.T. Santiago was given code red because, according to Col. Nathan R. Jessep, he had broken the rules and the chain of command by threatening that he would report one of the alleged killers for illegally firing a gun. He also wrote letters to the head regarding his transfer from Cuba.

Pfc. Louden Downey and Lance Cpl Harold W. Dawson were given orders by Col. Jessep to give Santiago code red. They strongly felt that it was a part of their duty and were not at all guilty of what they were doing. They were not even given a chance of considering their inner feelings and conscience; instead they were made to follow Col Jessep’s order blindly. Downey also said that for a Marine, or any other officer, there are only four most important things “UNIT, CORPS, god and country”.

They felt it was their utmost duty to follow the orders given to them or else they will have to pack their bags. These officers acted like robots by just acting on the instructions given to them. There conscience had died and they only worked for the authority. They believed that authority has the utmost power and that what ever the authoritative figure said, was always right. They were taught during their trainings that in their life Marine Corps Code: unit, should be the most important thing.

Although people like Lt.Col. Mathew Andrew Markinson wanted to help Lt Daniel Kaffee (The lawyer) but due to Col. Jessep, he was afraid to do so, as no one was allowed to argue on Col. Nathan R Jassep’s decision. Col. Mathew ended up committing suicide towards the end of the movie. This shows that there was a lot of influence of the authority and people were even afraid of talking anything against them. Although people wish to do something different but they end up following the instruction given by authority figures.

1.2 Principles of Delegation Of Authority

According to Koontz et al “authority is delegated when decision -making power is vested in a superior by a subordinate.” Delegation of authority is not an option it is a necessity for an organizational hierarchy so that only one person is not responsible for handling all the things.

The principle of scalar chain:

There is a proper scalar chain between the officers, as the job of each and every officer is clearly defined. As we can see that Col. Mathew Andrew Markinson had to report to Col. Nathan R. Jassep and then Pfc. Downey and Pfc. Louden Dowry had to report to their senior officers (Col. Jessep and Col. Mathew). However in the movie, it is not clearly defined that who has to report whom but still it is clear by watching the movie that there was a proper scalar chain. Each and every Marine working at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, knew whom they had to report to and what are their duties and responsibilities. They even knew that if they broke the rules they would have to face a lot of negative consequences (for example, CODE RED)

The principle of unity of command:

The unity of command can also be seen in the movie as all the officers and Marines had to report to only one boss: Col. Nathan Jessep. Therefore, there were not much complications as each person knew what his duty was and to whom he had to report to.

As mentioned before that Col. Nathan R. Jessep had the main authority and each employee had to report to him, thus no one was allowed to ask question regarding the decisions made by him, not even Col Mathew Andrew Markinson, who was his batch mate n academy and had done all the training with him.

The principle of responsibility:

No matter how many bosses the employees are supposed to report to, but the main accountability is with the main boss, the one on the top. Same was shown in the movie “A Few Good Men”. According to this principle, if any of the employees makes a mistake, the boss has to be responsible. Whereas, in the movie, it was clear that if a Marine makes a mistake, like breaking the chain of command, he himself was held responsible for it and was finally ordered code red “an illegal order to rough up a fellow Marine who is not quite up to snuff”.

Flaws Of Leadership

A leader is someone who can influence others and who has managerial authority. Whereas, leadership is the process of influencing a group of people towards the achievement of goals.

Leader should have following qualities to be an effective leader:

Drive (high effort level)

Desire to lead

Honesty and integrity

Self confidence


Job relevant knowledge

If we compare the following qualities with the movie we will see a big flaw in the system in such a way that firstly from the general point of view Col. Jessep did have the desire to lead. He was intelligent and influential. On the other hand he was lacking integrity and honesty towards work. Here an example can be taken, when Santiago wanted to inform the higher authority that illegal firing was being done across borders he did not let him leak the truth and tried to stop him to such an extent that he gave an order of core red to his platoons.

Secondly leaders shouldn’t be arrogant and should respect for authority and shouldn’t consider their subordinates inferior to them. While Col. Jessep did and an example can be quoted when Lt Kaffee and his colleagues went to visit him at the base in Cuba to discuss Santiago’s case, he was rude to them, passed cheap and low comments on Lt. JoAnne and ordered Lt. Kaffee to ask the same question again nicely or he would not provide him with the copy of the transfer letter. This clearly shows that he was very proud of himself.

Thirdly another example that states that Col. Jessep did not posses leadership qualities was that he was very up high or strong headed and he didn’t like his subordinates correcting him because he thought that they were not up to the mark. He had a wall around him and wasn’t in anyway open to suggestions. It was shown in the scene when Col. Jessep and Col. Mathew were having a conversation about the transfer of Santiago.

As for a good leader, he should adopt the open door policy and consider the views of his subordinates in separable of their ranks.

Conclusion would be that though he had the desire to lead but he did not accept that responsibility ties that came with the job which required honesty, integrity and consideration for authority. Due to his non-appreciating attitude the flaw in the system came and such consequences took place.

Movie analysis

2.1 Character Analysis

Lt Daniel Kaffee

The role of the hotshot Navy attorney, Lt. Daniel Kaffee is played by Tom Cruise in this movie. He plays a Harvard Law School graduate who has been out of school for nine months and in the Navy for only seven. He’s had a history of brilliant plea-bargains, and has never actually defended a client in court.

Lt. Daniel has a fear of failing his late father, who was also in Navy. He does his best to hide this fear by his ever-smiling face and easy going attitude. He is shown as a nonchalant but successful Navy lawyer who is handed a politically sensitive case in the movie.

Lt. Daniel Kaffee has, in fact, far more in common with the victim, who was likewise notorious for his lack of conviction. In fact, Cpl Harold W. Dawson, in a conversation with Lt. Daniel Kaffee also said “I can’t believe they let you wear a uniform”.

COL. Nathan R. Jessep

The character of Col. Nathan R. Jessep is played by Jack Nicholson in this movie. He plays the role of a fanatical CO at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who orders his officers to bring a platoon troublemaker into line through a severe and unsanctioned form of hazing known as a “Code Red.” He fits in the category of an autocratic leadership style. His character was that of a notorious leader who was only concerned with the Marine Corps Code which consisted four aspects in the given order:

Unit, Corps, God and Country.

Lt Cdr JoAnne Galloway

Demi Moore plays the role of Lt Cdr JoAnne Galloway, a lawyer. She is shown as a tough-minded officer who shames Lt Daniel into trying the case though the evidence points to his clients’ guilt.

Lt. JoAnne, a qualified military attorney volunteers to represent the defense, but the top brass passes her over for a lazy lawyer (Lt. Daniel).

Lt. JoAnne plows through the film, steady and dignified as a ship’s figurehead.

Dialogue Analysis

Col. Nathan R. Jessep said to Col. Mathew:

“Don’t ever question my orders in front of another officer”

This shows he was very conscious of his status, position and self respect and did not care about others dignity. He did not like it when Col. Mathew questioned him regarding the transfer of Santiago in front of another officer. This very well defines the character of Col. Jessep in this movie.

Lt. Daniel said to the driver of the jeep, on the way to Cuba base:

“I’m just not crazy about boats”

This shows the laid-back easy going attitude of this attorney. While being a lawyer in Navy he gathered up the courage to say that he is not fond of boats!

Cpl. Harold W. Dawson says to Lt. Daniel (about what he follows and obeys):

“Unit, Corps, God and Country”

This shows what he, along with all the other officers believe and obey in Cuba.

Cpl. Harold W. Dawson said on another occasion to Lt. Daniel (about Santiago):

“He died because he had no code, he had no honour and God was watching”

He truly believed that Santiago’s murder was not a crime, nor any mishap, rather he believed that he died coz he did not obey the rules and broke the chain of command.



The movie, its script, the dialogues and the characters can directly be linked to the basic principles of Organizational Behaviour. This movie follows strict delegation and authority rules. It portrays a slightly bent picture of leadership and leadership styles and shows the direct link with the milgram experiment.

The characters have individual qualities, strengths and weaknesses and they differ from each other in a very obvious way, though they all work for the same force: Navy.

This report covers all the aspects and corners of the principles of Organizational Behaviour and directly links it to the movie and delivers the message.


All the information written in this report is strictly self-made (based on the movie). There is no copy work in this report. All the pictures (not visible here) have been downloaded from the following sites:



Therefore they can be seen or downloaded from these sites.

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