Pages:5 (1483 words)
Document Type:Research Paper
Equal Opportunity Program
In the spirit of, and in service to the Army’s mission and vision, the Equal Opportunity Program exists “to ensure fair treatment for military personnel, family members and civilians without regard to race, color, gender, religion, age, disability or national origin,” (United States Army, 2014, p. 1). Because of the destructive power of discrimination on organizational culture, the Equal Opportunity Program ensures the fulfillment of organizational objectives via the creation of a sustainable, effective environment in which personnel flourish and contribute to departmental missions and goals. The Equal Opportunity Program includes several components, such as training, classes, materials, the establishment of a special harassment hotline, and procedures for reporting and prosecuting violations of ethical or behavioral codes related to equal opportunity comportment.
The reasons behind the Equal Opportunity Program are expressly stated on the Army’s website and include an admission and embrace of the heterogeneity of its personnel pool: which amounts to one and a half million individuals (United States Army, 2014). A “strategy for human capital,” equal opportunity is employed as a rational means of remaining competitive in terms of its outputs, and also in terms of its human resource strategies. Army senior leaders are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining equal opportunity rights within their divisions or departments.
An interview with an Army Colonel about the Equal Opportunity Program highlights the identifiable challenges, issues and dynamics associated with the program. The interview also helps to clarify the contextual variables impacting the environment. Applying organizational metaphors and exploring alternative theories will also help develop an informed action plan for resolving current challenges. Colonel S serves in a position of leadership, and therefore has direct connection to the Equal Opportunity Program. At least every week, some issue related to diversity or ethics arises.
Identifiable Challenges, Issues, Dynamics
The greatest challenge is the very nature of diversity: complexity. With so many people, it becomes impossible to come up with a set of rules and regulations that can possibly cover every single situation with all the many constraints and variables involved. Discrimination does not always occur in overt ways, and nor does harassment. Dishonesty, deceit, and other disturbances to workgroup harmony most often occur in subtle and imperceptible ways, even to those who are most at risk for victimization.
What the Equal Opportunity Program provides is a set of overarching values and ethics that permeates all interactions and behaviors within every single unit, team, or department. Yet the act of constructing those shared values requires the participation of all personnel. Any time someone perceives an infraction or affront, however seemingly small, that issue or complaint needs to be brought to the surface and dealt with immediately and in accordance with Army policy. By dealing with each issue as it arises in a systematic way, it is less likely that…
…levels of culture in an organization: artifacts, espoused beliefs and values, and also the basic underlying assumptions. Artifacts include the “visible and feelable structures and processes,” which are fairly easy to discuss, as well as the “observed behavior” that is being called into question (Schein, 1992, p. 24). Unfortunately, some behaviors are difficult to recognize or “decipher,” making it challenging to have discussions that can lead to effective resolutions (Schein, 1992, p. 24). The espoused values and beliefs of the organization are also fairly apparent and therefore easy to discuss in light of the Equal Opportunity Program. When behaviors are rationalized for whatever reason, there is a failed opportunity for growth and resolution. The leader needs to avoid any attempts at rationalizing unjustifiable behavior—and avoid condoning such attempts at justification too.
Action Plan for Resolving Challenges
The action plan for resolving the current challenges in implementing the Equal Opportunity Program on a daily basis within the Army begins with leadership. It requires that military leaders regularly discuss Equal Opportunity Program matters openly through regularly scheduled meetings and progress reports. The anonymous hotline is a tremendous boon in this situation, and needs to be more effectively utilized. All personnel need to be reminded regularly of its existence, so that infractions are reported in a responsible manner. The standards and stakes have to be raised. Rather than presenting Equal Opportunity objectives as a chore, the entire program needs to…
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Schein, E. H. (1992). Organizational Culture and Leadership. 2nd ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
United States Army (2014). Army equal opportunity program. Retrieved from: https://www.army.mil/standto/archive_2014-03-21/
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