Assessing the Relationship Between Diversity and Navy Unit Performance

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Authors
Helzer, Erik G.
Lester, Paul B.
Tick, Simona
Subjects
Diversity
inclusion
performance
Battle E Award
Battle Efficiency Award
Mission Areas
guided missile destroyer (DDG)
Advisors
Date of Issue
2024-03
Date
Publisher
Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School
Language
Abstract
The US Navy has identified inclusion and diversity as key components to building a Culture of Excellence and ensuring healthy command climates. This study empirically assessed relationships between crew diversity and crew performance across six years of observation of the US Navy’s fleet of destroyer ships (DDGs). Our primary research objective was to understand the degree to which crew diversity on a variety of dimensions—including gender, race, age, cognitive diversity, cultural diversity, and family structure diversity—was associated with objective indicators of operational performance and effectiveness. Across all diversity and performance indicators examined, there was non-uniformity in the relationships observed, and none of the diversity indicators was consistently and reliably associated with both indicators of performance. We observed small, but significant, statistical relationships between crew performance and indicators of gender, racial, and cultural diversity: Gender diversity was negatively associated with the likelihood of winning a Battle Efficiency Award, whereas racial and cultural diversity were positively associated with aggregated Afloat Training Group evaluations of critical Mission Areas. Exploratory analyses using a small set of Afloat Safety Climate Assessment Survey data shed light on team and culture dynamics that might underpin relationships observed between crew diversity and performance. This research offers a starting point for understanding how the Navy can achieve operational effectiveness utilizing the full range of talent within its ranks, including current challenges and opportunities for managing this diverse workforce.
Type
Technical Report
Description
Series/Report No
Department
Defense Management
Organization
Naval Postgraduate School
Identifiers
NPS Report Number
NPS-DDM-23-012
Sponsors
N1 - Manpower, Personnel, Training & Education
Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Program
Funder
Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Research Program (PE 0605853N/2098)
Format
66 p.
Citation
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
Rights
This 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.
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