Transforming change in the military: a systems approach
Neff, Jodi A.
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Why are military organizations resistant to change? In an attempt to answer this question, this thesis proposes the use of systems thinking to evaluate the military and its ability to effect change. Rather than investigate individual components of the environment, systems thinking dictates the study of the relationships between system components. We offer two frameworks to examine these relationships. The prescriptive framework, developed via literature, illustrates how each of the military subsystems of strategy, doctrine, and organization should interact. The theoretical framework shows how these subsystems interact in reality. A study of the theoretical framework illustrates differences from the prescriptive framework and where resistance to change within the military system actually occurs. We find there are many barriers to change to include doctrinal rigidity and a legacy force structure that is preserved by a dominant culture, the misuse of history, and the inability to learn from past failures. Systems thinking, as seen through these frameworks, can apply to every military organization and be very useful in not only realizing the need for change but understanding how these changes affect the entire system. More importantly, through systems thinking, the inhibitors to change can finally be realized and understood.
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