Organizational Culture Analysis Lauri Simmons BUS610: Organizational Behavior October 15, 2012 Every society has a culture that drives their core values, beliefs, and actions. Culture provides a social system and creates a sense of identity (Baack, 2012). Within each culture are multiple subcultures. Subcultures, according to Baack (2012) differentiate a subgroup from the larger group to which it belongs. This also holds true for all organizations. Baack (2012) describes three levels of culture that influence behaviors in organizations: observable artifacts, espoused values, and enacted values.
Observable artifacts include the physical signs of an organization’s dominant culture; espoused values are the explicitly stated values and norms found in organizations; the values and norms exhibited as employee and managerial behaviors are enacted values (Baack, 2012). One of the largest organizations with a strong culture and multiple subcultures is the military. Although the military requires its personnel to commit to certain core values and beliefs, many cultural layers further differentiate the individual branches of the military.
The military consists of five active-duty services and their respective Guard and Reserve units. These include the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. All branches are equal parts of the United States Uniformed Services, headed by the president as commander in chief. To join the military, you must be between 18 and 34 years old ; or 17 years old with parental consent. Even though there are many cultural differences between the various branches of the military, each with their own values and expectations, there are also many cultural similarities.
For instance, the military a whole has experienced a couple important paradigm shifts over the years. First, joining the military is now voluntary, whereas in the past, a draft was in effect. Second is the representation of women in all branches of the military and in roles previously dominated by men. Another similarity is the military language. All branches use a universal system of code words to identify letters in the alphabet. In addition to the phonetic alphabet, the military uses numerous universal acronyms to identify military programs and services, long with a method to identify time. Although the military is the dominant culture, each branch forms a unique subculture. The Navy’s subculture for instance, includes sailors, their assigned ship’s culture, spouses and children, parents of sailors, and veterans. Unlike other branches, the Navy is equipped to handle operations on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground. An enlisted sailor generally serves a term of four years aboard one of the Navy’s 285 deployable ships (United States Navy, 2012).
Another subculture develops during deployment. Deployment not only affects the service man or woman, but their families, friends, and communities. Depression and boredom sets in for many, and although counseling is available, there is still a certain amount of stigma behind seeking help, so most will not seek it out. My son Nolan, who is currently on deployment with the NAVY, described deployment in the following way (personal conversation, October 15, 2012) “When you first leave for deployment, you think, wow this is like going on vacation.
Then after a couple of weeks at sea, you begin to think, wow this is getting old. After a few weeks at sea you then say wow it is going to be a long time before I get to get home and see my family. ” Finally, Nolan advised that it is difficult to adjust to life back in the states when they return from deployment, because they are different people than when they left on deployment and so are the ones they left behind. “Infidelity is high both in sailors and in the spouses left behind. Many spouses are resentful that they are left behind, especially when children are involved.
Infidelity and divorce is so high among sailors, the Navy warns recruits in boot camp not to marry or get into a relationship while in the Navy. ” In closing, I would like to discuss Veterans as another military subculture. Veterans frequently have difficulty adjusting to the civilian world after their tour, face unemployment, often have disabilities, and problems maintaining housing. They frequently feel unappreciated, and experience mental health issues such as PTSD/shell shock, depression, and alcohol and/or substance abuse (Department of Veterans Affairs, 2012).
Some cities, such as Phoenix, Arizona have housing communities specifically for Veterans and other programs. Resources America;s Navy (n. d. ) Frequently asked questions. Retrieved October 15, 2012 from http://www. navy. com/faq. html Baack, D. (2012). Organizational behavior. Bridgepoint Education: San Diego, CA Department of Veterans Affairs (n. d. ) Pre-discharge program. Retrieved October 15, 2012 from http://www. vba. va. gov/predischarge/index. htm