The formulation and designing of any organization are based different principles including management and industrial policies. To understanding the organizational context, one has to take into account the internal and external factors that affect the operations of a given firm. Furthermore, it provides room for examining the structure of the enterprise, resources, functions, and culture. It also allows addressing of the issues relating to management of environmental changes. Essentially, an organization is a platform whereby individuals from various backgrounds come together to work as a collective unit to achieve set goals or objectives.
With the existing dynamism among employees, the management may experience distinct challenges that may affect the organization both positively and negatively. The United States army, for example, is one of the largest agencies in the world and has over the years experienced various encounters that promote change in its operations and organizational culture. Throughout the history of the United States, the treatment of sexual minority groups has shifted both on medical and popularity platforms. The military regulations, for example, have moved from punishing of homosexuals to discharging service members responsible for changing the notion among medical professionals about the causes of homosexuality (Mills, 2017). The ban was first implemented in 1940 but was only limited among commanders and specific branches of the force. However, the number of discharges decreased during World War II due to the need for personnel. Department of Defense officials recently acknowledged that the prohibition of homosexuals in the army has not resulted in a complete removal of gays and lesbians from the military and that many members of the sexual minority groups have served honorably in the armed forces. As such, this research will discuss different events that have led to the change in policy on homosexuals in the United States army. Additionally, it will assess on the various policies that have been formulated by the United States Congress on the recruitment of gays and lesbians in the military.
The United States Army
From the American Revolution to the Indian and civil wars and in between, the United States military has helped in the foundation and stabilization of the country in different occasions. The organization was founded in 1775 during the continental congress and later named George Washington as its first general. Later, in 1789, the new American constitution made the president its Commander in Chief with the responsibility of representing the enterprise to the congress and issuing orders when called to task (Johnson, Rosenstein, Buhrke, & Haldeman, 2015). Currently, the company is divided into five groups; The Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, The Coast Guard, and the Army. In total, there are 1,429,995 soldiers distributed across the different groups of the American military.
Like any other company in the world, the United States army experienced different challenges that affect its operations and tarnished its image across the world. Some of these challenges include ethical misunderstandings, economic instability, and cultural change. Additionally, over the last two decades, the U.S. military has had laid down inconsistent policies on the homosexuality of the military and even carried out frequent tests on their members to determine their sexuality. Before the Second World War, there existed no written policy that barred gay people from serving in the army. Although sodomy was considered a crime, numerous cases of gay people in the army were reported since the revolutionary war times.
During the different wars that the United States Army was engaged in, they referred to homosexuals as medically incomplete persons and therefore barred them from joining the force. Its medical recruitment criteria were later reviewed to allow anybody willing to join the force to be enrolled. Due to the increase in the need for soldiers to fight during the war, the military eased the screening procedures, therefore, permitting homosexuals to enlist hence increasing their numbers. After the war, the leadership of the organization embarked on decreasing them in the organization.
In 1982, the department of defense banned homosexuals from serving in the military terming them as completely incompetent and later published a directive in the DOD effecting the directive. According to the government accounting report of 1992, approximately 17,000 men and women in the army were discharged after the publishing of the policy. All through the 1980s, efforts to revise the policy emerged as a priority for the non-governmental organizations that advocated for both gay and lesbian rights. Homosexuals in the military came out and vigorously challenged the basis of their discharge.
By the beginning of 1993, the campaign had spread across the United States; even civilians joined the campaign. Although President Clinton had promised to reinstate and protect the right of gays and lesbians in the military, different congressional leaders threatened to pass legislation that would bar such soldiers from serving in the military. Later, the president adopted a policy labeled “Don’t ask, Don’t pursue, and Don’t Tell” (DADT) whose terms required that questions about the sexuality of an individual not to be asked during recruitment (Connell, 2017). However any soldier seen displaying any romantic gestures, having sexual relations with a member of the same sex disclosing your sexuality to another member of the force was considered sexual misconduct that resulted in involuntary discharge.
Although their recruitment into the military faced different challenges, including discrimination from their colleagues, the concept slowly changed. In 2010, most of the enlightened junior members embraced homosexuals and even shared different facilities with them at the training school. During the same year, the Senate voted to repeal the policy set by President Clinton, making it voluntary for anybody to mention their sexuality during recruitment. A study was done by Johnson, Rosenstein, Buhrke, & Hardeman((2015) estimated that approximately 65000 gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals and men were serving the United States military, comprising 2.8 % of the total military personnel. Moreover, a report by the government’s accountability office (GAO) suggested that the cost of discharging a member that had been fired due to homosexuality from the fiscal year 1994 to 2003 had totaled to over $217 million. On the contrary, the palm center in California suggested that the actual cost of the DADT policy amounted to $415 million.
Notably, both findings imply that the government incurs between $22000 and $43000 per person as a result of the DADT policy. Moreover, from 2003-2008, an additional 3279 troops have been discharged, which suggests that an additional $74-$140 million was spent during the period (Johnson, Rosenstein, Buhrke, & Haldeman, 2015). According to Johnson, Rosenstein, Buhrke, & Haldeman (2015), the department of defense acknowledges that many of the homosexual service men and women have served honorably and displayed good work ethics throughout their careers. Furthermore, the top officials have opposed the myth that homosexuals are a threat to national security but express increased concerns about the removal of the ban. They further state that by removing the prohibition, the United States Army will experience a decrease in morale, unit cohesion and operational effectiveness.
The work done by the United States army involves the participation of both the government and its citizens. Other involved parties in the entity may include suppliers, soldiers, and international bodies including human rights organizations and non-governmental agencies.
Understanding Organization Culture
Every company has a different way of dealing with unique personalities and upholding existing culture. It is through culture that a company can portray uniqueness in its operations as well as empower its employees. Mills (2017) defined organizations culture as an inevitable but powerful force in the firm that influences the mode of exploitation and behavior of the members of the entity. Connell, (2017) defined culture as a system that helps in promoting and sharing of social assumptions, beliefs, and desirable values.
Consequently, every organization has to develop and maintain a unique culture that provides boundaries and guidelines on ethics both within and outside the company. Excellent organizational culture should have various principles including improving innovation, attention to detail, emphasizing on the outcome, people, and promoting teamwork and stability. Seemingly, the United States army also has a culture that has been developed and maintained for decades. The culture helps in keeping the members of the military alive, promoting work ethics, and ensuring proper security is achieved (Mills, 2017). Based on the above principles in the army and their image to the American citizens, creating a change in the culture already adopted will require the availability of adequate resources throughout the process.
Culture can only be effective if it is applied in the relevant era and on proper standards. Many entities require both internal and external drivers such as the society and the help of the top management to initiate culture shift. Although all the stakeholders may not welcome the process, it is the duty of the leadership of the enterprise to increase awareness of the desired objectives. Notably, toxic culture needs pruning from the organization to enhance values and cohesion. Through this, the company will be able to improve on leadership expectation as well as increasing organizational growth and synergy.
Addressing the Challenge
The problem of homosexuality in the United States military has been in existence since the 1940s; it has brought about other complexities including creating division among the members of the force and limiting the strength of the organization. Even with the new justifications, the old theory concerning the group has not changed. In the 1950s, the allegations were primarily based on the notion that sexuality was a psychological criminality that was promoted by habitual and unattended mentality. Additionally, leaders in the force feared that both gays and lesbians would be vulnerable to blackmail due to the increased social stigma attached to their sexual orientation.
Combating this challenge can be linked to a series of events including the formulation of the DADT policy by President Clinton in 1993. In the recent years, more strategies have been adopted to help in the management of the problem. In their campaign trail in 2007, Senator Obama and the democratic party promised to repeal the DADT policy within 100 days in office. Later, in 2010, the Pentagon announced the modification of the previous guideline of the law and provided greater protection from false evidence or accusations (Connell, 2017). Moreover, the new law provided that any organizations providing information on gay service personnel must be subjected to public scrutiny to avoid provision of false allegation on the military. Additionally, Virginia Court’s Judge Philips issued an injunction to stop the enforcement of the ban on gays who serve openly. In 2013, the U. S supreme court abolished a large portion of the Defense Of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA), which restricted same-sex marriages among government employees, including the military (Segal, Segal, & Reed, 2015). Such events portray a struggle by the American society to ensure equality is achieved in the army and hence stop institutional discrimination.
Adopting a Different Approach
In a different context, it is important for the American government to take a different approach to the menace facing the military of the country. The repealing of existing law only acts as a cover-up strategy that aims at giving the United States government control over gays and lesbians serving in the military. It is important for the authorities to engage other stakeholders in fighting for the rights of homosexuals and lesbians. This will provide a better platform for understanding the plight of the disadvantaged group thus enabling the formulation of a viable solution. Alternatively, the defense department should start a member cancellation program that will counsel members of the American army on the best way to deal with stigma from the society (Segal, Segal, & Reed, 2015).
Through advocating for the rights of homosexual soldiers, the government and other stakeholders will enable them to serve without prejudice. Allowing transgender people to engage in honest work would promote their behavioral change and humanize them (Connell, 2017). The research further estimates that there exist 2, 450 active members of the force each year and that 65% seek to change annually. According to mills (2017), the transition program funded by the Pentagon costs between $2.9 billion to $4.2 billion in every financial year and acts as an incentive to the victims to take up the program.
According to Segal, Segal, & Reed (2015), there is no lesbian or gay human being on the battle field as everybody has to fight to protect both themselves and their countries. As it is with other militaries in the world, including Israel and the United Kingdom, a distinction must be made between the official homosexuality ethics, human rights, and military culture in the United States. Gay and lesbian rights in the army have over the years experienced a harsh reception from both the society and the government. As such, the gay and lesbian soldiers had to wait until reserve service hours to open up about their sexuality since it provided a conducive atmosphere to talk openly about their private lives. Although the law requires that homosexuals do not disclose their status to their peers, their achievements as soldiers should be recognized and rewarded appropriately.
Notably, most of the lesbian and gay personnel have served honorably even with the ban. Additionally, senior military commanders now acknowledge that many of the sexually disadvantaged people serve ably but privately in the military. For instance, high-level members of the United States army of 1992 suggested that the motivation behind the ban was not based on the performance or approach to work but to help in maintaining the dignity of the force and that of the country (Segal, Segal, & Reed, 2015). Although over 76% of the senior officers continue to oppose sexual minorities participating in the United States army openly, their rate of performance in the field is more than expected from any soldier (Segal, Segal, & Reed, 2015). Consequently, the U.S. government should limit the sanctions regarding policies that are imposed by the military gay and lesbian groups. The reduction of homosexuals will provide an interactive platform between the straight and homosexuals, which, in turn, might lead to the transformation of gay soldiers
The military has over the years experienced an increase in cases of assault on homosexuals in the United States. If the current policies against gays and lesbians in the army are not repealed, the menace of gays and lesbians serving in the United States military will increase in future. Conversely, if the laws are overturned to accommodate homosexuals in the U.S. military, the number of stigmatization cases will reduce. Notably, allowing them into the force will act as an example to other troops all over the globe that do not recruit gays or lesbians. Additionally, it would enable the U.S. military to be among international organizations that advocate for equal human rights regardless race, color, gender, or sexual orientation. The U.S. government should, therefore, tighten the policies and laws that permit the serving of gays and lesbians in the force.
Connell, C. (2017). “Different than an infantry unit down in Georgia”: Narratives of queer liberation in the post-DADT military. Sexualities, 1363460717699771.
Johnson, W. B., Rosenstein, J. E., Buhrke, R. A., & Haldeman, D. C. (2015). After “Don’t ask don’t tell”: Competent care of lesbian, gay and bisexual military personnel during the DoD policy transition. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(2), 107.
Mills, A. J. (2017). Studying the Gendering of Organizational Culture over Time: Concerns, Issues, and Strategies. In Insights and Research on the Study of Gender and Intersectionality in International Airline Cultures (pp. 71-91). Emerald Publishing Limited.
Segal, D. R., Segal, M. W., & Reed, B. J. (2015). Diversity and citizenship in the modern military organization. Turkish Journal of Sociology, 35, 43-61.