The Mayaguez Incident: An Organizational Theory Analysis – Embarrassment to the Military With Unnecessary Loss of Life Because of Failures Within Organizational Structure and Poor Decision Making

This important study about the 1975 Mayaguez ship incident involving Cambodia has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction – it is not a print replica, and thus it is suitable for all devices.

I. Introduction * A. Purpose * B. Background * C. Methodology And Chapter Review * D. Chapter Review * Ii. Organizational Theory * A. Introduction To Organizational Theory * B. Frames * C. Structural Frame * D. Mintzberg’s Structure In Fives * E. Human Resource Frame * F. Political Frame * G. Symbolic Frame * Iii. Mintzberg’s Structure In Fives * A. Divisionalized Form * B. Structural Form During The Mayaguez Incident * IV. Frames * A. The Structural Frame * B. The Human Resource Frame * C. The Political Frame * D. The Symbolic Frame * V. Findings * Vi. Implications For Future Study And Conclusion * A. Implications For Future Study * B. Conclusion

Applying selected concepts of organizational theory to the Mayaguez incident of 1975 leads to a more comprehensive understanding of events and more accurate lessons learned. Application of organizational theory demonstrates the decision processes at the executive level left the military operation vulnerable to failure. Henry Mintzberg’s structural contingency model and Lee Bowman and Terrence Deal’s frames model within organizational theory are used and are applied to executive-level decisions. The rationale behind focusing on the executive level is twofold: First, it is where final critical decisions were made, and second, military operations cannot take place without an executive-level authorization. The Mayaguez crisis was rife with potential pitfalls and, though President Ford was equipped with an excellent organization of intelligent, competent personnel, the result was unnecessary loss of life. Publicly, the operation was a success and President Ford the savior of the Mayaguez crew. To the military, the operation was an embarrassment—all because of failures within the organizational structure and poor decision making. Application of organizational theory provides an avenue for analysis of the military operation within the Mayaguez rescue.

On 12 May 1975, an American merchant ship, SS Mayaguez, was seized by the Cambodian government in what President Gerald Ford believed was a threatening show of force by the relatively new Khmer Rouge government. The United States government responded swiftly by sending a full military package to rescue the Mayaguez and her crew. In the end, President Ford publicly declared the operation a success, but for the military, it was an abysmal failure. A full report was produced to summarize the events. After reviewing the report, Congress requested, and the Government Accounting Office (GAO) conducted, an investigation to clarify incongruous statements and events listed in the incident report.

This thesis is based on the hypothesis that by applying selected concepts of organizational theory to the Mayaguez incident of 1975, one can gain a more comprehensive understanding of events and more accurate lessons learned. Specifically, application of organizational theory to the Mayaguez incident demonstrates that the decision processes at the executive level left the military operation vulnerable to failure. To conduct this analysis, the authors used Henry Mintzberg’s structural contingency model and Lee Bowman and Terrence Deal’s frames of reference model within organizational theory.

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