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Thread: Change management within the military environment

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    Default Change management within the military environment

    Hi all.
    I'm writing a paper on the title subject at Masters level. Initially I'll be establishing and building theory through a comprehensive literature review. Findings from primary research activities such as interviews and questionnaires will help draw comparisons and inform recommendations, with a view to potentially offering a generic military change management model. Generalisation will be limited to organisations under similar environmental forces.
    Id be grateful for advice, reading lists, steers to previous studies, or any other information that might help the study.
    Thank you.

    Stu

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Stu,

    This does appear to have a very wide range. What exactly do you mean by 'change management'? Could it apply to those often credited with substantive changes to the military, Frederick the Great, Napoleon, von Moltke, Rommel, Haig, George Marshall, Alan Brooke etc?

    Just as valid as leadership change, inevitably after a defeat, is the adoption of new technology and training. I do recall reading a good book on how the UK-based British Army developed before D-Day, which was a mixture of new leaders using new, well in fact WW1-based training methods to get the army back into a fighting army.

    Have you looked at this historically, John Keegan's books come to mind, or such a recent contribution as Jim Storr's book 'The Human face of War'?

    I am sceptical there is a 'generic military change management model'? If only that most nations take ideas from elsewhere and mould them to their likes.

    There is an excellent thread on writing a thesis within this thread IIRC, with Selil and others weighing in.
    davidbfpo

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    Hi David and thanks for your comments. I'll add detail to the original question. It's regarding the implementation of the UK's SDSR (and therefore Army20/20) in a local unit, focusing on the softer skills of implementing change management, including organizational culture considerations and use of such models as Kotter's 8 steps etc.
    I'll certainly add you reading recommendations to my research and your views of military change management are fuel for discussion in my dissertation.
    My ambiguous opening question was posed to gather a diverse range of change management definitions within the military context and to encourage discussion.
    Do we even need such models considering the inherent task/power culture of soldier ethos? There are strong arguments for both sides.

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Stugil,

    Sounds like change management when applied to a shrinking UK military attempting to maintain individual and unit quality and "punch", sorry capability - rather than a defeat!

    The UK military have been shrinking for a long time, so there is some history which may help. We do have a few UK members and Jim Storr is a friend, he lives close to B'ham.
    davidbfpo

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    If it's SDSR and A2020 (and therefore I assume AR2020?) it might be worth taking a look into how the US and Canada, amongst others, changed from a predominantly professional Military to a much higher proportion of reservists. I understand that one of the key tenets of A2020 was to bring the UK more in line with other First World militaries with the regular:reservist ratio.

    In terms of 'military change models' my experience is much as David has suggested. That being the military in question either utilises a change model that 'fits' best with the national culture and/or organisational culture; or, and this is a post-modern trend, buy the change expertise in in the form of a consultant. The benefit of the latter is that the contractor comes in without the preconceptions, traditional and regimental bonds that exist if the change is managed from within...

    Just some thoughts. Happy to discuss further but hopeful of others jumping in.
    Commando Spirit:
    Courage, Determination, Unselfishness, and Cheerfulness in the face of adversity

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    David,
    Agreed! Jim looks like a valuable source!
    Thanks again.

    Stu

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    If you mean what I think you mean by "change management", that is, how a military adapts and changes to the environment and enemy it is faced with- you could take a look at "Closing with the Enemy" by Doubler. It may be a little light for an academic paper, but it should be a quick read.

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    Great stuff.
    I'll be focusing on operational level organizational change, so perhaps Commanding Officers +/- a level. My suspicion is that it's a case of "get on with it!" Without any CM coaching/mentoring. I can compare the frontline CM (mission command) and its relevance with facilitating org CM.

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