Behavior Before Belief: Training for Transformative Change in Defense Acquisition
Bensch, Therese C.
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For decades, the Department of Defense has been plagued by persistent cost, schedule, and performance problems in defense acquisition programs. Increasing technological complexity, funding instability, and changing requirements are driving the need for transformative change in the acquisition workforce. Although transformational culture change can rarely be made directly, leaders can change behavior that should create positive outcomes, which can then be incorporated into cultural beliefs. The study's theoretical construct was the behavior-before-belief model of organization change. Recent acquisition policy changes were intended to improve efficiency and are demonstrating some improvements, yet little is understood about whether training efforts related to these policies are producing policy-compliant behavior. The purpose was to examine through an ex post facto, cross-sectional study whether there is a significant relationship between learning from Defense Acquisition University (DAU) training in acquisition policy and application of learned policy-compliant behavior, as represented by the variables learning achieved and applied training. DAU data spanned 19 months, included 334,000 training events, were separated into 40 course-type subgroups, and were analyzed through hierarchical regression. The findings confirmed that the independent variable of learning achieved is predictive of policy-compliant behavior change (p <.001). Additionally, predictors of learning and application were determined.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
NPS Report NumberSYM-AM-18-049
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