Living in denial is a common trait among many people. For most people, it is easy to admit the truth because they do not believe in living a dishonest life. However, for some, admitting the painful truth becomes a nightmare because they are hindered by other personal traits such as pride and jealous behavior. Those with pride often tend to give in and admit the truth, as do those with jealous behavior. However, pride is very influential on a persons behavior. Hence, where individuals do not wish to risk their image or reputation, it is better to hide the truth. This is the case of Lance Armstrong. Armstrong belongs to a small group of individuals who take great pride in themselves. In addition, his celebrity status compels him to avoid tarnishing his name. This paper explores the case of Lance Armstrong by answering a series of questions relating to his case.
We can consider the early (2000 to prior to 2012) interviews with Lance Armstrong as negotiations where news reporters/talk show hosts/the public were negotiating with Lance Armstrong to provide truthful information. In what ways could the following concepts apply to these early negotiations? You can choose a side (Armstrong vs. the public) or discuss these concepts with respect to both sides. What allowed these denials to stand for so long?
The concepts of Armstrong vs. the public can be applied to the early negotiations between 2002 and 2012 in two ways. First, Armstrong was determined to fight accusations to protect his reputation. Hence, he was willing to state on TV shows and interviews that he was innocent to convince the public. Second, the public was determined to see him admit to the charges because there was sufficient evidence showing that he was guilty of the charges without any reasonable doubt. However, Armstrong and his team were not willing to surrender to the public hence the denial had to continue for a lengthy period. The factors that enabled these denials to stand for thirteen years include perception/cognition, communication/ information, negotiation power, and peripheral influence.
During his career, Armstrong was convinced that to win, he had to do anything. Hence, he was more than willing to engage in doping as long as it was for his career purposes. In addition, before 2000, the sports world did not have proper testing procedures. This encouraged athletes to engage in doping to enhance their performances. The practice became so common such that most athletes felt they were not on a level playing field without it. Armstrong had the same perception. Hence, after he was charged with doping, he could not confess to doing it because apparently, there were also other people doing it. However, Armstrongs conviction became even more fixed because of his status as champion. He would rather engage in continued negotiations rather than give up his titles.
Communication also enabled Armstrongs denials to stand for long. This is because many television hosts were curious about the story and willing to cover it to great lengths. This provided Armstrong with a medium of communication where he would try to convince the public of his innocence. Also, the communication process put a lot of pressure on the authorities who were charging him because they were faced with differing opinions from the public. By providing him the freedom to communicate with the public, the authorities also encouraged Armstrong to pursue negotiations which would see him cleared of the charges. Given the huge amount of resources Armstrong possessed, it was possible to arrange negotiations with the authorities. These negotiations would then provide Armstrong and his team with the chance to enact their influence on the authorities. Hence, instead of focusing on eradicating doping, the authorities would be focused on negotiations with Armstrong.
Lying and deceptive tactics
The charges against Armstrong came after a time when doping was evidently being practiced professionally by many athletes. When Armstrong was charged with doping, the charges emerged after the anti-doping agency had come up with new ways of detecting doping activity among athletes. This discovery would end up affecting Armstrong in a big way because what the agency considered legal was not what Armstrong had been practicing. Hence, even the publics perception of what is legal changed with the discovery. This put Armstrong in a dilemma because he was now fighting with a widely accepted truth. However, he was adamant to him, the now widely accepted truth was never doping. Moreover, Armstrong stated in one of his interviews that he viewed it as a level playing field. Also, since he was always clean according to tests conducted before the races, then he was only practicing professional and smart training. This provided Armstrong with a basis to prove that his practice was legal.
Different motives would explain why Armstrong was willing to engage in deceptive tactics. First, he was hell-bent on maintaining his title as the champion. Losing this title would damage his reputation and discourage sponsors from getting involved with him. Initially, the doping charges prompted withdrawal by some sponsors. However, he needed the resources they provided. As an individual, he would not be willing to give up the opportunities they presented. Second, Armstrong had built a reputation for being a cancer survivor and because of this; he had founded the Livestrong Foundation. Since the reputation of his foundation was also at stake, he would have to engage in deceptive tactics to keep the supporters of the foundation from leaving.
What were the consequences of Armstrong's unethical conduct? Consider consequences at the individual level and consequences for multiple constituencies.
Armstrong's unethical conduct damaged his reputation as well as that of his foundation. If he had decided to admit to the doping charges immediately, he would have had a better chance of retaining the many titles that were stripped from him after he confessed to the charges thirteen years later. Also, he would most likely have been suspended from sporting activities for a given period. Instead, he ended up having to live the rest of his life without the possibility of ever competing in any sport. From his many interviews, it is also evident that Armstrong suffered a great deal psychologically because living in denial does not help one get through their daily activities smoothly. Armstrong remained with the hidden truth for thirteen years and this was bound to weigh on him greatly.
Armstrong's unethical behavior also affected other constituencies. First, his conduct stained Americas greatness in the sporting event. Armstrong had led his fellow citizens to believe that they had a champion only to betray them by lying and cheating. Moreover, since he had won all his titles on his teams behalf, the team was also stripped of the titles. This would also affect those who viewed him as a role model. Their hopes and dreams would be tarnished knowing that an individual they believed in was deceiving them the entire time. The reputable sponsors who had trusted Armstrong by investing their funds on Armstrong were also affected. Future incomes associated with marketing their brands using Armstrong's image were diminished.
How did Armstrong explain or justify his unethical conduct?
Armstrong continuously justified his unethical behavior by claiming that his practice was on a level playing field. He did not feel as though he was cheating at that time. Instead, he described the practice as professional and smart. Also, he did not fear being caught since he was always clean before races. Moreover, Armstrong also stated that if other athletes were practicing doping, then the system could as well legalize it.
What factors shaped Armstrong's predisposition to use unethical tactics. What personality differences could explain his predisposition to use these tactics?
Personality and resources are the main factors that contributed to Armstrong's unethical tactics. After Armstrong was declared cancer-free in 1996, his sponsors were more than willing to invest in him again because he had already posted an outstanding performance before. Hence, when he returned to cycling, he had a lot of resources within his reach. His win in 1999 would further impose his position as a cancer survivor and cycling champion. This encouraged, even more, sponsors to join his team. However, Armstrong's sponsors were not aware of what he was planning to spend their money on. He built and managed a methodical doping program for him and his team.
What contextual influences could have led to Armstrong's use of unethical tactics?
He spent money on procurement and trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs and masking IV agents. He would even hire individuals to be on the lookout in team hotels to avoid testers. Armstrong had an obsessive personality. He was convinced that doping was what it took for an athlete to exhibit good performance. To cover his practice, Armstrong would also pay off doctors to cover up positive doping tests. For example, he made a payment of one million dollars to a physician known by the name Dr.Blood. He went ahead to intimidate his teammates by telling them to find other jobs if they could not use performance-enhancing drugs. In several instances, his teammates reported Armstrong's behavior as abusive because he would bully or threaten to sue whistleblowers. This behavior portrays the traits of a highly unethical employee. In addition, Armstrong personality was illustrated by false accusations, profanity, harshness, physical threats, and unreasonableness.
Armstrong had developed a good reputation for himself after winning the 1999 Tour De France. Two years before, he had been declared cancer free. For many, Armstrong was a living testimony of success after adversity. To potential sponsors, he was the right image for their companies. Each of these factors shaped Armstrongs unethical behavior. Using his influence as a cancer survivor, Armstrong exploited the trust people had placed in him to practice unethical behavior. This would enable him to do it undeterred because people looked up to him as a hero. Hence, they would not doubt his integrity.
Given he had an extensive team of sponsors; he was able to use their names to exact his influence. Armstrong wanted to portray the image of a trustworthy athlete. Hence, to continue his unethical practice, he used the power and resources that his sponsors had to cushion himself against accusations made in an effort to destroy his career. At the same time, since he was the leader of his cycling team, he had the ability to exert influence over his teammates without them objecting to it. Hence, his highly unethical conduct was integrated into the tam. Using bullying and intimidating behavior, he coerced his teammates to practice doping or else they would be eliminated. This enabled him to build loyalty among his teammates, which further encouraged his unethical tactics.
What did you learn from this case analysis that you could use in future negotiations?
For thirteen consecutive years, Armstrong denied the use of performance-enhancing drugs even after an investigation into the matter brought forth clear evidence. Clearly, he did not handle his tactics properly because even after all those years of denial, he lost everything. Armstrong could have handled his situation in a better way if only he was keen on avoiding all the legal and financial troubles he is currently faced with. Also, if he had used his influence in doing positive things, he probably would have lived to win more titles than he did by doping.
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