Sailor Perspectives and Recommendations for Communication About Divisive Events and Inclusion within the Fleet
McFadden, Annmarie L.
Norton, Wesley A.
MetadataShow full item record
Recent events, such as the death of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, the post elections attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the COVID-19pandemic, have brought to light the challenges leaders in both private and public/governmental organizations face when communicating with employees about sensitive events. At both the national and global levels, these issues are often tied to deep and long-held societal divisions. The U.S. Navy has frequently taken a progressive stance in supporting diversity and inclusion, and the Navy’s recent steps to encourage inclusion and engage in necessary conversations are consistent with these actions. However, recent events and efforts to converse about these events have highlighted the challenges inherent in such communication. This study builds upon previous research focused on the tensions between participation and organizational control in online workplace communities (Aten & Salem, 2020). This research explored Sailors’ experiences of sensitive conversations on various topics and of necessary conversations directed by Navy leadership following the attacks on the U.S.Capitol. This current research describes Sailors’ perceptions of drivers and outcomes of sensitive conversations. It identifies four needed individual and organizational capacities to support successful conversations about sensitive subjects: metacognition, emotional regulation, cultural curiosity, and communication competence. Participants’ responses andrelated literature highlight two key conclusions. First, Sailors disagree on how the Navy should manage sensitive conversations: majority and minority groups’ perceptions differ on what topics require conversation, and fail to recognize that the inability to engage effectively in sensitive conversations is a military vulnerability. Second, Navy communication often demonstrates an inadequate capacity for managing these conversations: leaders lack self-awareness, emotional regulation is challenging, cultural curiosity is not developed, and the tensions generated by communication hierarchies limit communication effectiveness. These capability gaps constrain Sailors' positive perceptions of sensitive conversations which contribute to continued divisive conversations, reduced perceptions of inclusion, and increased risk from information warfare.
Prepared for: N1 - Manpower, Personnel, Training & Education. This research is supported by funding from the Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Program (PE 0605853N/2098). NRP Project ID: NPS-22-N323-A
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 NumberNPS-DDM-23-003
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Sailor Perspectives and Recommendations for Communication About Divisive Events and Inclusion within the Fleet Aten, Kathryn; Tick, Simona; Salem, Anita; Blasingame, Simonia; Palazzetti, Valentina; Spickenreither, Nicola; McFadden, Annmarie L.; Norton, Wesley A.; Machinporrata, David; Martins, Melanie; Valenzuela, Cesar (Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2023);Recent events, such as the death of George Floyd and the resulting Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, the post elections attack on the U.S. Capitol, and the COVID-19 pandemic, have brought to light the challenges leaders ...
PERCEPTIONS, EXPERIENCES, AND CHALLENGES BY U.S. NAVAL OFFICERS FROM MAJORITY AND UNDERREPRESENTED GROUPS WHEN RESPONDING TO CRITICAL EVENTS FROM MARCH 2020 THROUGH MARCH 2021 Valenzuela, Cesar A.; Machinporrata, David R.; Martins, Melanie J. (Monterey, CA; Naval Postgraduate School, 2023-09);Over 2020 and 2021, the United States experienced three events that contributed to political controversy and social unrest: the COVID-19 pandemic, Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests, and the January 6 attack on the capitol. ...
Hall, Steven B. (Monterey, California: Naval Postgraduate SchoolMonterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School, 2019-12); NPS-19-M238-AThe goal of this research is to define an analytical tool, Workbench for refining Rules of Engagement against Crowd Hostiles (WRENCH), that will support operational planners and ground commanders in defining contextually ...