An Analysis Of Organizational Socialization In The Marine Corps CSC 1984 SUBJECT AREA Manpower AN ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION IN THE MARINE CORPS Submitted to Rudolph V. Wiggins, Ph.D In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for Written Communications The Marine Corps Command and Staff College Quantico, Virginia Major R. B. McKittrick United States Marine Corps April 6, 1984 AN ANALYSIS OF ORGANIZATIONAL SOCIALIZATION IN THE MARINE CORPS OUTLINE Thesis Statement: I propose to evaluate the initial and subsequent phase of the organizational socialization process focusing on certain leadership characteristics identified by Rensis Likert in his book, The Human Organization, Its Management and Value. These characteristics are: I. Leadership Process Used II. Motivational Forces III. Communication IV. Decision Making V. Goal Setting VI. Control An Analysis of Organizational Socialization In the Marine Corps Edgar H. Schien in his treatise, Organizational Socialization and the Profession of Management states, "Organizational socialization is the process of 'learning the ropes,' the process of being indoctrinated and trained, the process of being taught what is important in an organization or some subunit thereof."1 The organizational socialization process of a Marine to the Marine Corps is a process that may be divided into two phases; the initial socialization phase and the subsequent socialization phase. The organizational socialization process is most crucial and has the greatest impact on a newly joined Marine during his initiation into the Marine Corps. During the initial phase, the newly joined Marine learns the value system, norms, and the required behavior patterns of the Marine Corps. Although the organizational socialization process is most critical during this initial phase, the continued success and productivity of the Marine is contingent upon the Marine Corps continuing to provide a subsequent organizational socialization process. I propose to evaluate the initial and subsequent phase of the organizational socialization process focusing on certain leadership characteristics identified by Rensis Likert in his book, The Human Organization, its Management and Value. These characteristics are; the leadership process used, motivational forces, communication, decision making, goal setting, and control.2 Leadership Process Used. The initial socialization phase of a Marine in the Marine Corps is during Boot Camp for enlisted men and women and Officer Candidate School for officers. During this period the Marine is made aware of the purpose of the Marine Corps, which is to accomplish a military mission through a well coordinated team as opposed to individual effort. This designation of mission accomplishment as more important than individuality is normally contrary to a Marine's former civilian environment. Rarely in the civilian environment of a new Marine (17-21 year olds) is concern for the mission or an objective more important than the approval of peers or the maintaining of inter- personal relationships. Another consideration in the leadership process used is adapting to different leadership styles. In the military environment, concern for the mission or task is an orientation usually associated with a traditional leader whose attitude is characterized by concern for getting the job done even if it is at the expense of the individual Marine. The other predominant leadership style found in the military is the human resources leader. This leadership style is characterized by the leader recognizing a Marine's input regarding what he has to say about his job as valid and that it is important to fulfill his psychological as well as physical needs. But, the new Marine is taught that a leader who is more concerned about troop welfare than mission accomplishment is a detriment to the organization. For example, in the classic World War II movie about the Air Force, "Twelve O'clock High," Frank Savage (played by Gregory Peck) is asked to take over a bomber group from a Commanding Officer whom everyone loves and respects but whose over-identification with his men and concern about human resources have resulted in an outfit that is not producing and hurting the war effort.3 The new Marine in the initial phase is organizationally socialized that a Marine leader is to be primarily concerned about the accomplishment of the mission and then the welfare of the troops. During the subsequent socialization phase Marines are taught the objectives of Marine Corps leadership through an annual Leadership Training Program.4 The emphasis of the Leadership Training Program is that a Marine leader cannot accomplish the mission without an equal consideration for the welfare of the troops. In the subsequent socialization phase the individual Marine is considered equally with the mission requirement. Motivational Forces. According to Frederick Herzberg, motivational forces in the work environment may be classified into two categories: satisflers and motivators.5 Satisfiers in the work environment include those basic elements that result in satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the job. Some examples of these basic elements are the working conditions, quality of inter- personal relationships on the job, salary and fringe benefits, company policies and leadership styles. It is Herzburg's contention that if an individual's satisfier requirements only are met, he may continue to be a member of the organization but, in all probability will not be a productive one. The Marine is initially, and then subsequently, organizationally socialized not to be significantly motivated by satisfiers. Working conditions are often austere, the development of interpersonal relationships is stressed both on and off the job because teamwork is necessary for success in combat, the salary will not make anyone rich, and the leadership style is authoritarian not democratic. Motivators in the work environment include those elements that actually "drive" an individual to produce on the job and are basically concerned with the job itself. Motivators include the recognition an individual receives from the job, the challenge of the work, the sense of achievement in performing the task, and the opportunity for increased responsibility on the job. Marines are organizationally socialized to be "motivated" not only about themselves as Marines, but also the mission of the Marine Corps. The Marine is recognized for the job he does and is imbued with a sense of history about what Marines have accomplished who have gone before. The sense of challenge in being a Marine is instilled in Boot Camp and Officer Candidate School and as a Marine achieves success in the Corps, a personal sense of achievement is also developed. The Marine is encouraged to seek responsibility, and is rewarded in doing so by being promoted, decorated, or recognized. The major implication of Herzberg's two factor theory is that no matter how satisfying a job is, increased performance results from the presence of the motivational factors. This accounts for the fact that some individuals are satisfied with their jobs, but not motivated by them. During the initial socialization phase, the motivation that is instilled in a Marine is that the job itself or being a Marine is rewarding. The motivation is intrinsic. In the subsequent socialization phase, emphasis is placed on a Marine being a "professional." A professional is motivated by both intrinsic and extrinsic means, and this is reflected in individual proficiency. Proficiency is the technical, tactical and physical ability of the Marine to perform the job or mission. Communication. Jack Gibb in his book, Defensive Communication subscribes to two communication styles that are applicable to the initial and subsequent organizational socialization process of a Marine. They are; defensive and supportive.6 The defensive communication style is a one-way, senior to subordinate communication. During the initial socialization phase, the defensive communication style is utilized and often causes the Marine to feel threatened. This style is reflected in the new Marine believing that he is being evaluated, both personally and professionally, that he is being controlled and manipulated, that the Marine's senior is not sensitive to individual needs, and that he is being treated as a less than competent individual.7 These examples of the defensive communication style are implemented during the initial phase of a Marine for a specific reason: to break down or remove any vestiges of the civilian way of thinking or acting. During Boot Camp or Officer Candidate School part of the training program includes a process that reduces all individuals to a common denominator and then rebuilds them to reflect Marine Corps philosophy and discipline. The defensive communication style is utilized as a means to an end only and is not consistent with the daily treatment of Marines after their initial training. The supportive communication style is a two-way, senior to subordinate communication. During the subsequent socialization phase the supportive communication style is predominant. This style is reflected in the Marine believing that his senior takes a non-judgmental approach to him personally and professionally, that his potential and contributions to the organization are valued, that he does not feel manipulated, that his senior cares about his needs, and that his senior does not treat him as inferior because of his lower rank.8 These and other examples of the supportive communication style are utilized throughout the Marine's career. The objective of this communication style is to maintain the effectiveness and efficiency of a Marine in his role as a member of a force-in-readiness. Although the objective after the initial socialization phase is the supportive communication style, Marine leaders unable to cope with contemporary leadership problems often revert to the defensive communication style which further compounds real or perceived problems. The supportive communication style is taught and stressed in leadership training programs and in Marine Corps Schools, both formal and informal. Decision Making. During the initial socialization phase the participation of a Marine in the decision making process is minimal. This reflects that the organizational structure, provisions for channeling information and authority, power allotment and the assignment of responsibility are all very narrowly defined.9 The decision making process is initially utilized in situations where conflict is a natural reaction to this process. The new Marine is to eliminate any individual differences and develop a team approach that supports the decision of the Marine in charge. This is turn develops organizational unity, cohesion, and facilitates assimilation of the Marine into the Marine Corps. Another aspect of the decision making process that should be addressed is the chain of command. Although the structure of the Marine Corps may limit individual interactions by prescribing "chain of command" and "channels of communication" that dictate which Marines may and which may not interact with each other, it serves the function of reinforcing required discipline. The Scalar principle or chain of command in the Marine Corps carries an implicit right to command others. This right is derived from a Marine who holds a higher rank and has the authority to command Marines with lower ranks on the vertical organizational structure. The Scalar principle provides a scale, or grading, of duties according to degrees of authority and responsibility. 10 During the subsequent socialization phase, the emphasis is on Marine participation in the decision making process. Although the final decision rests with the Marine in charge, Marines are encouraged to provide input into the decision making process. The Marine is also trained that once the decision has been made, personal or petty differences are put aside, and there is a joint team effort to accomplish the mission. The chain of command reinforces the leaders, but also allows the individual Marine redress to real or perceived problems that have developed in his working environment. The chain of command does not silence questions or complaints, but rather channelizes them. Typical problems or complaints raised by Marines are that they are excluded from the decision making process or are asked to provide token input. Marine Corps training by rank or grade continues to emphasize that the most reasoned decisions are made by encouraging Marines to actively participate in the decision process. Active participation incorporates offering and requesting ideas, opinions and suggestions. The development and maintenance of an effective decision making process enhances the leadership abilities of the individual Marine. Goal Setting. When organizational goals are shared by all, this is what McGregor calls a "true integration of goals."11 During the initial socialization phase the Marine Corps plays an active role in goal setting and in advance establishes the criteria for acceptable individual performance. The new Marine is directed to accomplish Marine Corps goals through a variety of training exercises and methods. The attainment of these goals is vital to the effectiveness of the Corps and the Marine as an individual is subservient to the organization. But during this initial phase the Marine begins to realize that Marine Corps goals cannot be attained if the individual and units goals are not attained. Although emphasis is on the attainment of Marine Corps goals, its basis is in the attainment of the individual Marine and his unit's goals. During the subsequent socialization phase, the Marine Corps strives to create a climate where Marines perceive that their goals are satisfied as a direct result of working for the goals of the Marine Corps. Consequently, the closer a Marine's goals and objectives to the Marine Corps' goals, the better the performance of the Marine Corps. One of the ways Marine leaders bridge the gap between the individual Marine's goals and the Marine Corps' goals is by creating a loyalty to the Marine Corps and the individual simultaneously. Marine leaders communicate Marine Corps goals to their Marines and their Marines do not find any difficulty in accepting these goals as compatible with their own and in their ability to derive personal satisfaction and accomplishment by implementing them. Control. During the initial socialization phase the Marine is exposed to authoritarian and rigid supervisory and job-related controls that are expected to instill discipline in the new Marine. This degree of control of the Marine's behavior does not permit him to modify his behavior or actively participate in the decision making process. The autocratic12 Marine leader controls the flow of communication between himself and the new Marine for the same expressed purpose as previously mentioned in the other categories of the organizational socialization process--to reinforce Marine Corps behavior and discipline. The organizational behavioral control over the new Marine is absolute. The Marine's training day is completely structured and he has minimal control over events during this process. But, as the initial socialization phase nears completion, there is a perceptable switch by the Marine leader in the emphasis of organizationally and individually controlled behavior. Although organizationally controlled behavior is still paramount, individually controlled behavior is encouraged within a framework for developing a team effort. This shifting of complete organizational control to some consideration for individual control is preparing the new Marine for his subsequent socialization phase. The Marine becomes a contributor to the communication process and during leadership training it is stressed that an effective leader understands and controls the two-way communications process. The Marine becomes aware that the role of the leader is to accomplish the mission and as a result the leader must have control of his men. In order for the leader to be effective, the individual Marine must exhibit the self-control that is required to maintain a successful team. The proper amount of control that a leader needs to utilize is determined by the situation, task, the Marines available and their abilities. Effective control is a situational phenomenon. The manner in which effective control is implemented varies considerably among Marines and especially during the initial and subsequent socialization phases. The effective leader will exert the control necessary to accomplish the leadership objectives of mission accomplishment and troop welfare. In conclusion, the Marine leaders' ability to lead is predicated upon his ability to effectively organizationally socialize the Marine, both initially and subsequently during the course of a Marine's career. Marine leaders must be aware of the significant impact that the organizational socialization process has in the aforementioned areas of leadership, motivational forces, communication, decision making, goal setting and control. Signiflcantly, I believe that the initial socialization phase is the most crucial to the success of the Marine in the Corps. Subsequent effective and relevant organizational socialization will ensure that the Marine continues to be a productive asset to the Corps. Marine leaders must also recognize the initial and subsequent phase as two distinct aspects of the organizational socialization process and not confuse them. Those who make the mistake of attempting to implement initial organizational socialization in a subsequent organizational socialization setting, will undoubtly alienate the Marines and more importantly, fail to accomplish the mission. The understanding and utilization of an effective organizational socialization process in the Marine Corps will lead to the continued accomplishment of the mission as well as the equal emphasis on the welfare of the troops. FOOTNOTES 1Edgar H. Schien, Organizational Socialization and the Profession of Management. An exerpt from Kolb, Dubin and McIntyre; Organizational Psychology - A Book of Readings, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1979, p. 10. 2Rensis Likert, The Human Organization, Its Management and Value, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967, pp. 3-12. 3Hersey and Blanchard, Management of Organizational Behavior: Ultilizing Human Resources, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977, p. 121. 4USMC, NAVMC 2657, USMC Annual Leadership Training, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., 1976, Part 6. 5Frederick Herzberg, Work and the Nature of Man, New York: World Publishing Co., 1966. 6Jack Gibb, Defensive Communication, Journal of Communication, 11, 1961, pp. 141-148. 7Kochler, Anatol and Applebaum, Organizational Communication - Behavior Perspectives, New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1976, pp. 142-153. 8Keith Davis, Human Behavior at Work, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1977, pp. 133-134. 9T.P. Fenence, Organizational Communications Systems and the Decision Process, Management Sciences, 12, 1970, B83-B96. 10Jerome L. Franklin, Down the Organization: Influence Processes Across Levels of Hierarchy, Administrative Science Quarterly, June 1975, pp. 153-164. 11Douglas McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprize, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1960. 12R. White and R. Lippitt, Autocracy and Democracy, New York: Harper and Row, 1960. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Davis, Keith. Human Behavior at Work, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1977, pp. 133-134. 2. Fenence, T.P. Organizational Communications Systems and the Decision Process, Management Sciences, 12, 1970, B83-B96. 3. Franklin, Jerome L. Down the Organization: Influence Processes Across Levels of Hierarchy, Administrative Science Quarterly, June 1975, pp. 153-164. 4. Gibb, Jack. Defensive Communication, Journal of Communication, 11, 1961, pp. 141-148. 5. Hersey and Blanchard, Management of Organizational Behavior: Utilizing Human Resources, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice- Hall Inc., 1977, p. 121. 6. Herzberg, Frederick. Work and the Nature of Man, New York: World Publishing Co., 1966. 7. Kochler, Anatol and Applebaum, Organizational Communication - Behavior Perspectives, New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston, 1976, pp. 142-153. 8. Likert, Rensis. The Human Organization, Its Management and Value, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1967, pp. 3-12. 9. McGregor, Douglas. The Human Side of Enterprize, New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1960. 10. Schien, Edgar H. Organizational Socialization and the Profession of Management. An exerpt from Kolb, Dubin and McIntyre; Organizational Psychology - A Book of Readings, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1979, p. 10. 11. USMC, NAVMC 2657. USMC Annual Leadership Training, Headquarters Marine Corps, Washington, D.C., 1976, Part 6. 12. White, R. and Lippitt, R. Autocracy and Democracy, New York: Harper and Row, 1960.
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