Complex Leadership Needs in the Defense Acquisition Workforce
Trainor, Stephen C.
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This project provides a conceptual overview of the theory, frameworks, and models, or "thinking," that informs the leadership needs in the defense acquisition workforce (DAWF). The defense acquisition system is noteworthy for the scope and complexity of the challenges it must solve to support the national security needs of the operational military forces. But the DAWF, a specialized community focused on the business of acquisition, is regularly critiqued for its inability to implement widespread organizational and cultural change that achieves substantive and lasting improvements and efficiencies. This project addresses the complex challenges that emerge from the interactions and distinctions of modern warfare, the acquisition system, and the culture of the DAWF, and that make complexity and team leadership particularly relevant conceptual frames for defense acquisition. The project hypothesizes a gap in the theory, frameworks, and models, or the ﾓthinking,ﾔ about leadership and teams within defense acquisition. Research and practical evidence suggests that teams and team leadership may be an effective means to undertake flexible, agile, and interdependent work in complex, dynamic contexts, such as defense acquisition. The project offers a review and synthesis of the literature on leadership and teams in complex adaptive systems.
NPS Report NumberNPS-AM-18-017
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