Presentation on theme: "INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE: THE SA MILITARY AND ITS SEARCH FOR ORGANISATIONAL STABILITY Abel Esterhuyse, PhD."— Presentation transcript:
INSTITUTIONAL CULTURE: THE SA MILITARY AND ITS SEARCH FOR ORGANISATIONAL STABILITY Abel Esterhuyse, PhD
Initial observations – research in action Willingness to talk and share Congruence of opinion – across rank, gender & racial lines. Two armies: Corporate / Field Working coherence vs social coherence Pragmatism: gender and race Desperation to get the job done! Thinking pattern: Past & Present driven / not future orientated.
The Theory 1 From a distance “... is to identify or isolate those cultural factors that are uniquely military” Military as a homogeneous institution James Burk: 1.discipline, 2.professional ethos, 3.ceremony and etiquette, 4.cohesion and spirit de corps.
The Theory 2 From the inside “... seeing different cultures” Military is not a homogeneous institution Carl Builder: Different service cultures Joseph Soeters, Donna Winslow and Alise Weibull: The “corporate” and “front-line” army.
Military Culture in theoretical context 1.“... multi-layered and multi-dimensional” Systems approach – an understanding of culture within cultures. 2.“... culture are learned and not transmitted genetically.” time /Dynamic & changes over time / Culture vis-à-vis cultural heritage. 3“... culture is as culture does” All people & institutions are encultured / cannot operate beyond culture. 4.“... culture serves as a guide to action.” “… soldiers carry their culture into battle”. 5.“... culture can be dysfunctional.” People & institutions may be ethnocentrically “blind”.
Conceptualising the challenge: 1 Financial / Resources – Organisational tensions The right balance between military missions and capabilities within a very limited budget. The internal management of the defence organization resulting from disagreements about political priorities. Military bureaucratic and budgetary trade-offs between the primary function of the SANDF (defend the territorial integrity) and its priority tasks (peace missions, border security and domestic humanitarian ops & policing).
Conceptualising the challenge: 2 Institutional / Personnel – Societal influences in the military domain. How to manage (very liberal) government-directed gender, labour and justice practices in the South African military. Driving the personnel policies, organisational approaches and, ultimately, institutional culture of the South African military. Difficulty in managing the traditional ‘up-or-out’ military challenge.
Conceptualising the challenge: 3 Political / CMR Realm - Conceptual tensions How to reconcile human security policies with traditional state security approaches. Political elite: Political minded generals vs military minded politicians The impact of the principles of non-offensive defence and non- threatening defence on the ethos of the SA military. “… matching the strategic environment with government expectations in the natural global progression of the role of the military since the Second World War from an instrument of warfighting to one of the management of defence and later the management of peace.”
Lack of a defence debate The general absence of a broad debate on societal security in general and defence in particular. No explicitly formulated and published security policy documents. No debate at the conceptual level of defence. In-depth, independent and critical questioning and scrutiny of defence and the defence policy documents? Defence in general and the military in particular is not a priority for the SA government:
Bureaucratisation of the defence debate The defence debate is mostly a bureaucratic debate: The defence agenda is the result of a military bureaucratic process. The defence debate within the military is formal, but not necessarily well-structured. Political elite: Political minded generals vs military minded politicians Role of opposition parties is seen as disruptive. Lost of academic interest
Drivers Defence debate is driven by fears: Military (Army) – loosing their conventional warfighting capacity. Political – no need for the equipment on the procurement list!
Media Nature of military-media relations & superficial reporting. Military is inward-looking & isolated from society. Prevent the spread of information that may harm or embarrass the government and its military! Sensational! Growing civil-military gap. No defence and military studies groups