The Value of Organizational Culture in the Military … Essay
Pages: 4 (1407 words) | Style: n/a | Sources: 4
¶ … appointed deputy brigade commander of the 56th ABCT, I am presented with a number of challenges that need to be met in order to reform the brigade. The most important challenge to this reform that I have identified is the need for an overhaul within the brigade's organizational culture. The practice of "hazing" has become commonplace and this is contrary to the noble spirit that should permeate the 56th. Ours should be a "spirit of mission" and not a spirit of rivalry or crass one-upmanship.[footnoteRef:1] By addressing the culture of the brigade, a proper foundation for reform can be established. As Schein notes, "Culture is not only all around us but within us as well."[footnoteRef:2] True reform cannot simply take place externally to ourselves -- it also has to reach deep down inside us and take root there as well. Thus, addressing the brigade's culture will be the most important aspect of my new role. I will also utilize the Seven-Step Vision Process, the Eight Stage Kotter Model and the philosophy of Mission Command in order to provide the right kind of leadership for the 56th in this trying time. [1: Samaan, J., Verneuil, L., "Civil-Military Relations in Hurricane Katrina: A Case Study on Crisis Management in Natural Disaster Response," (Berlin: Global Public Policy Institute), 233.] [2: Edgar Schein, Organizational Culture and Leadership (San Francisco: Wiley, 2010), 9.]
In addressing the current culture of the brigade it is important to note that the BCT is undergoing certain stressful events related to increasing trends in domestic abuse, DUIs and divorces.[footnoteRef:3] Therefore, part of addressing the cultural issues at stake will be to focus on the principle of personal responsibility, integrity, and accountability. Our brigade has to relearn what it means to have pride in itself -- not for the sake of appearing better than others but for the sake of being part of what is good and true. Noble principles have to be restored in the hearts and minds of these men. [3: 56th ABCT Case Study, 8.]
Restoring a culture of integrity and camaraderie will require addressing the stress that is building in the brigade too. This can be traced back to when the deployment was changed from Iraq to Afghanistan with the period of deployment lengthening for three more months. While this may not seem like a significant amount of time, it can be troubling for the brigade, especially if they are already lacking in the fundamental principles of culture and integrity. Likewise, the fact that the manpower of the brigade was not at full capacity and that their training prior to deployment was not satisfactory to meet the demands of the mission they were charged with carrying out -- all of this has contributed to the level of stress within the brigade and the poor morale among the soldiers and leaders.
At the same time there is a sense among the soldiers that the leadership within the brigade is not where it should be -- and they have every right to sense this as there was a lack of leadership as well as a lack of communication in recent times: for example, "The S4 section has conflict with the division G4 that has led to an adversarial relationship. The soldiers in the section seem unmotivated and have a general lack of discipline across the group."[footnoteRef:4] This indicates that there is no unity among the divisions as a result of the necessary team spirit and overall spirit of mission that the brigade should have cultivated. The lack of ethical oversight, moreover, is very concerning, and the reports of sexual harassment, hazing, and lack of respect for natives of Afghanistan communities is all indicative of a bad spirit that has entered into the brigade. [4: 56th ABCT Case Study, 6.]
Addressing these issues and strengthening the ethical core and spirit of the brigade is thus a top priority. The Kotter model is an effective model for guiding the needed organizational change and it all begins with communicating a sense of urgency: this brigade must change for the better right now. To support this change, a powerful coalition with a powerful vision needs to be formed and that means bringing in leaders… [END OF PREVIEW]
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