Organizational Culture How Do We As Leaders Change An Environment That Appears To Be Detrimental To Allowing Our Soldiers To "Be All They Can Be"?

1031 words - 5 pages

Organizational CultureHow do we as leaders change an environment that appears to be detrimental to allowing our soldiers to "be all they can be"? Making policies, issuing directives and establishing doctrine attempt to attack the issue, but what we really want to do is change the way the Army thinks. We want to change the Amy's culture. Organizational researcher Edgar Schein points out that an organization's culture is a pattern of assumptions judged as a valid way to perceive, think and feel as the organization deals with problems.1 Hence, the Army's culture is its personality. It reflects the Army's values, philosophy, norms and unwritten rules. Our culture has a powerful effect because ...view middle of the document...

One battalion may view itself as capable of influencing events, such as tasking or crises, while another may see itself as forever reacting to external demands and an out-of-control operating tempo.A second assumption of a culture addresses how we view people. Are people intrinsically good or bad? One view assumes that our soldiers, when left on their own, will do the right thing. In a unit with this perspective, authority is passed down the ranks in the belief that subordinates will do what is best. On the other end of the scale, some units may believe their soldiers will use any opportunity to "get over' on the system. We have all seen units with this perspective - they are tight-fisted when delegating authority and spend inordinate amounts of energy micromanaging their troops.A third assumption is based on how we expect our soldiers to act. On one end of the spectrum, a unit may expect its soldiers to be active participants and encourage individual initiative. On the other end of the spectrum, another organization may expect its people to be passive and simply follow the leader's direction and guidance. A Special Forces detachmentexemplifies the former orientation, while a basic training company represents the latter.Finally, a fourth assumption making up the Army's culture is our expectationof how people interact. Some units expect their people to be highly competitive with little interaction. Others may advocate a more team oriented approach with a concern for consensus building. One orientation is based on an individualistic outlook, while the other is groupfocused. The change from podium lectures in the advanced courses to small-group instruction is an example of moving from the individualistic perspective to a more collective orientation.Our culture forms around assumptions such as these. The Army culture falls somewhere between the extremes on the scale for each assumption discussed. Our culture can be an asset if our soldiers can...

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