Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Dr. Maria Church
October 4, 2012
Getting a grasp on an organization's culture is very beneficial for leaders and managers of almost any organization. This paper not only briefly describes some of the organizational issues confronting Navy members, but also identifies a few of the national cultural issues sailors deployed overseas can and do encounter. For example, within the organization, there are negative cultural issues that the Navy has to overcome, such as, the negative perceptions some have not to join the Navy, or that it is okay for current members that need help, to seek it. On a positive note, the Navy's strong family-oriented culture is quite a strong influence to remain in the Navy. The latter half of this paper looks at some of the national cultural issues some service members encounter while deployed overseas.
United States Navy's Organizational Culture After spending twenty-five years in the United States Navy, its organizational culture is a familiar subject. Depending upon how positive or negative the culture is in the Navy, determines how well its members perform their jobs. The Navy, with roughly 300,000 members, is a large organization. Within it are a few hundred individual commands, ships, and squadrons, all of which have their own organizational culture, separate from the Navy’s as a whole. The focus here will be on the Navy as a whole, not through the eyes of each individual command. The Navy has negative cultural issues to deal with, such as those pertaining to suicide in addition to dealing with perceptions of why some people do not want to join the Navy. Not all is bad though. On the positive side, the Navy’s cultural awareness of “family first” is a tremendous draw for some navy spouses. Lastly, there are other cultural issues to be concerned with besides those that exist in an organization. Most military members, including those in the Navy, have to learn to deal with national cultures in foreign lands.
One of the top cultural problems, not just in the Navy, but also in the military as a whole, is the idea that seeking help or assistance for a personal problem is a bad thing. In the macho world of the military, it can be perceived as a sign of weakness. Personal problems, in many instances, cause some service members to commit suicide. Fighting two wars over the past decade has led to many service members making as many as six or more deployments to either Iraq or Afghanistan, or both. There can be no mistake that this amount of separation from family and constant war fighting can and does result in mental problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, which leads to suicide in many instances. In fact, suicides are being committed much more often today than in the past. To help resolve this problem, Navy leaders are realizing that seeking help is a sign of courage, not weakness. By doing so, hopefully this cultural dynamic will soon change. In 2012, Briody, Pester, and Trotter determined that "organizations are continually in the process of change, with the hopes of becoming more productive, efficient, and effective in their mission" (p. 67). This idea has become readily apparent in the Navy. The culture is changing to one in which sailors are more apt to seek counseling. By doing so, not only will that positively affect the sailor’s well-being, it will also help the team in which that sailor is a part.
There are several cultural perceptions young civilians have about the Navy. Catanzaro, Moore, & Marshall (2010) concluded that people decide whether to become part of an organization based on the preconceived notions they have about that organization's culture. Some believe that it is too structured. There are some other perceptions that keep some people from joining. For example, six-month deployments living in a confined…