Sunday, August 31, 2014

How Management Knowledge Improves Military Adaptability

Military training is focused on learning specific skills to create a well-oiled machine designed to be stable under organizational pressure. A paper by Petrufova (2014) discusses many of the strengths and weaknesses of modern military education. In particular, the paper elaborates on how technical ability is strong but broader management knowledge is lacking for adapting to change. 

Adaptable military styles require a broader framework for understanding crisis situations and countering long-term threats. The military relies heavily on technical training to teach soldiers how to complete their day-to-day job functions. Awareness of how their function contributes to the whole and can be adjusted when situations change is lacking.

Management skills are needed for officers that control a number of functions simultaneously that require more complex interaction. The process of promotion from within helps to maintain morale and retain knowledge but doesn’t often afford the opportunity to gain new knowledge. Training becomes a central avenue of gaining new knowledge. 

Military educators can implement additional management knowledge and skills by helping students understand cultural and economic aspects of management. The military has strong values that offer stability but may be lacking knowledge of cultural and economic principles. 

Successful adaptation requires the ability to change when it is necessary. Specific knowledge works well for maximum productivity but general knowledge is better for understanding the overall function of each piece and how to change it. Management teaches the ability to adjust operations to changes in the market which is not something most militaries commonly deal with. 

The military can learn from the world of business to integrate the best management practices into their leadership style. Providing knowledge of management skills and functions helps officers have a better grasp of their whole operation and provide a framework for adjustment when situations change. Knowledge learned in business schools can be adapted to improve military operations.

Petrufova, M. (2014). Problems of manager competencies and teaching management in the military. Rista Academiei Fortelor Terestre, 19 (2).

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