The Context of Military Environments: An Agenda for Basic Research on Social and Organizational Factors Relevant to Small Units

The Context of Military Environments: An Agenda for Basic Research on Social and Organizational Factors Relevant to Small Units

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Overview

The United States Army faces a variety of challenges to maintain a ready and capable force into the future. Missions are increasingly diverse, ranging from combat and counterinsurgency to negotiation, reconstruction, and stability operations, and require a variety of personnel and skill sets to execute. Missions often demand rapid decision-making and coordination with others in novel ways, so that personnel are not simply following a specific set of tactical orders but rather need to understand broader strategic goals and choose among courses of action. Like any workforce, the Army is diverse in terms of demographic characteristics such as gender and race, with increasing pressure to ensure equal opportunities across all demographic parties. With these challenges comes the urgent need to better understand how contextual factors influence soldier and small unit behavior and mission performance.

Recognizing the need to develop a portfolio of research to better understand the influence of social and organizational factors on the behavior of individuals and small units, the U.S. Army Research Institute (ARI) requested the National Research Council's Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences to outline a productive and innovative collection of future basic science research projects to improve Amy mission performance for immediate implementation and lasting over the next 10-20 years. This report presents recommendations for a program of basic scientific research on the roles of social and organizational contextual factors, such as organizational institutions, culture, and norms, as determinants and moderators of the performance of individual soldiers and small units.

The Context of Military Environments: Basic Research Opportunities on Social and Organizational Factors synthesizes and assesses basic research opportunities in the behavioral and social sciences related to social and organizational factors that comprise the context of individual and small unit behavior in military environments. This report focuses on tactical operations of small units and their leaders, to include the full spectrum of unique military environments including: major combat operations, stability/support operations, peacekeeping, and military observer missions, as well as headquarters support units. This report identifies key contextual factors that shape individual and small unit behavior and assesses the state of the science regarding these factors. The Context of Military Environments recommends an agenda for ARI's future research in order to maximize the effectiveness of U.S. Army personnel policies and practices of selection, recruitment, and assignment as well as career development in training and leadership. The report also specifies the basic research funding level needed to implement the recommended agenda for future ARI research.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780309306843
Publisher: National Academies Press
Publication date: 09/21/2014
Pages: 164
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.40(d)

Table of Contents

Summary 1

1 Introduction and Framework for Research Agenda 5

Introduction 5

Framework for Research Agenda 12

Report Outline 15

References 21

2 Norms in Military Environments 23

Perspectives on Norms Research 24

Characteristics of Norms in Army Contexts 30

Themes for Research on Norms 34

Future Research on Norms 35

References 36

3 Environmental Transitions 37

State of Research on Transition Consequences 44

Future Research on Environmental Transitions 53

References 53

4 Contextual Leadership 57

State of Research 58

Leadership in the Army 60

Future Research on Contextual Leadership 62

References 72

5 Distinct Sources of Power and Status in Diversified Army Units 77

Status Hierarchies 80

Effects on Leadership Capabilities of Misalignment between Power and Status 84

Future Research on Distinct Sources of Power and Status 92

A Research Method Strategy 94

References 94

6 Multiteam Systems as the Context for Individuals and Teams 101

The Multiteam System as an Organizational Form 104

An Exemplar Research Program on Origins and Consequences of Multiteam Properties 113

Future Research on Multiteam Systems 116

References 117

7 Longitudinal Survey Data for Empirical Research on Military Environments 121

Cross-Sectional Data on the Military 122

Longitudinal Surveys Based on Nonmilitary Populations 123

The Millennium Cohort Study: A Longitudinal Survey Based on the Military Population 126

Creation of a Longitudinal Database 128

A Longitudinal Survey 129

References 131

8 The Research Agenda: Conclusions and Recommendations 135

Relevant Personnel 135

Norms 136

Environmental Transitions 137

Contextual Leadership 138

Power and Status 140

Multiteam Systems 140

Longitudinal Survey Data 140

Reference 141

Appendix: Biographical Sketches of Committee Members and Staff 143

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