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The U.S. Army: Values and Cultures

Essay by   •  February 3, 2014  •  Research Paper  •  1,140 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,521 Views

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"Your left, your left, your left, right, left." This familiar chant brings to mind images of parades, rows of soldiers marching in formation. This sight is just as familiar as the news of soldiers overseas. Unfortunately, this is normally as much as people know. Very few people know the values of the United States (U.S.) Army. The Army does not show the values listed in the booklet FM1 put out by the Army. The leadership booklet "Be, Know, Do", also called FM 22-100, lists the same values. The quality of the Army's values has receded with a breakdown in communication. Communication is the basis of holding a culture together. It affects the perceptions, the culture, and even plays a part in the conflict inside an organization (Robbins and Judge, 2011). . Communication can build an organization, or it can be the wrecking ball that causes a demolition.

Espoused Values versus Enacted Values

Espoused values are the values stated by an organization. Enacted values are the values found and shown within the organization. To many people, the expectation is for both sets of values to be the same. With a few exceptions, people would expect this across the board, excluding people often considered to be less than trustworthy. These people might include used car sales personnel, criminals, and oftentimes politicians. Unfortunately, in the Army, the values still do not line up.

Espoused values

FM1 lists seven values the Army is supposed to be following. These are loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage. The handbook is very clear on defining the seven values.

"Loyalty - bear true faith and allegiance to the U.S. Constitution, the Army, your unit, and other Soldiers

Duty - fulfill your obligations

Respect - treat people as they should be treated

Selfless service - put the welfare of the Nation, the Army, and subordinates above your own

Honor - live up to all the Army values

Integrity - Do what's right - legally and morally

Personal Courage - Face fear, danger or adversity (physical or mental)"

(U.S. Army, 2005)

Each one of these values is a wonderful thing to uphold. In general, most people would agree, and even follow these values. There is a down side to this. The Army now struggles to follow the values it has stated and has now acting on a different set of values.

Enacted Values

This is where the problem lies. The Army no longer follows its own values (Mccoinco, 2009). Now the Army changes its values based on its demands. The Army is releasing fewer people and bringing in more because of the manning shortage coming from the changeover to an all-volunteer Army. This does cause some issues with the values previously stated. The Army now accepts people who would not have qualified even a dozen years ago. Any soldier who abused substances was released from service with a dishonorable discharge. Now, these same soldiers are warned with a lowered level of discipline. One other interesting thing that the manning shortage has brought is convicted felons into the Army. Some court systems are giving convicted felons an option. They are able to choose either jail or becoming a soldier in the Army. While some people think this is a great way of cleaning up the felons' personal lives, others are less sure.

Communication's

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