Organisational climate and behaviour as facilitators


Organizational climate[1] comprises of mixture of norms, values, expectations, policies and procedures that influence work motivation, commitment and ultimately, individual and work unit performance. Positive climate encourages, while negative climates inhibits discretionary effort.

Organizational climate refers to the quality of working environment. If people feel that they are valued and respected within the organization, they are more likely to contribute positively towards the achievements of the goals.

Creating a healthy organizational climate requires attention to the factors which influence employee’s perceptions, including the quality of leadership, the decision making processes and whether the efforts of employees are recognized and rewarded.

Organizational climate has a major influence on human performance through its impact on individual motivation and job satisfaction. Although, Organizational climate is a descriptive term and different from concept of job satisfaction[2].

Individuals in an organization have certain expectations and desires. The fulfilment of these expectations and desires depends upon their perceptions as to how the organizational climate can address them. Thus organizational climate provides a type of work environment in which individuals feels satisfied or dissatisfied. Since satisfaction of individual goes a long way in determining his efficiency, organizational climate can be said to be directly related with his performance in the organization.



In view of evolving socio-economic scenario & increased stress levels within the army, is there a need for changing the organisational climate of a soldier? If so, then what roles can effective military leadership play in enhancing the organisational climate?


In the recent times, the socio-economic changes in the society, crass materialism, the breakdown in the joint family system[3], erosion of moral values, a lack of empathy in the governing system and increasing employment of army in low intensity conflict have contributed to the woes of the soldier.

The growing news items on the high number of suicides[4] and soaring stress levels[5] within the armed forces has thrown the spot light on to us. It has forced us to sit up, take note and embark on an internal review of organisational climate prevailing in the armed forces. In addition to these spates of suicides, the increasing job attrition rates and the lack of ability of the armed forces to attract right talent have become a cause of serious concern.

A large number of questions have been thrown up as “Is there an anomaly in our organisational climate”? “Is it, that the organisation is unable to address the grievances of our soldiers adequately”? “Does our organisational climate merit a relook and if so, what attributes”? and “How do we manage our organisational stressors”.

Effective leadership in a military organisation can make the difference between victory and defeat in war. Effective Leadership[6] implies a thorough comprehension of any problem, particularly identification of real issues involved, sound assessment of situation, determination of strategy, guiding, planning, directing execution of plan, monitoring and implementation to achieve the desired goal.


This study essentially deals essentially with the attributes of a healthy organisational climate, the organisational climate prevailing within the army, the need to change the same and the role played by effective leadership at the level of Commanding officers and staff officers in mitigating the same.


Data and information has been collected from books, periodicals, articles from internet and digitised references of Defence Services Staff College Library. Also, inputs in form of questionnaire have been obtained from a diverse section of the environment and compiled. The details are given in bibliography and referred to in the footnotes.


The assessment carried out in the dissertation on basis of compilation of answers to the questionnaire submitted to a diverse military environment may have the following limitations:-

  1. Opinions of soldiers may be biased at time.
  2. The sample size consists of only 100 amongst approximately 100 Million soldiers of the army.
  3. Since Army is very large organisation it was not possible to cover all the branches within this short span.
  4. Finding of the study has its own limitations.


It is proposed to cover the subject by analysing the following aspects:-

  1. Chapter I: What is Organisational Climate and is its impact on an Organisation.
  2. Chapter II: Dimensions of Organisational Climate.
  3. Chapter III: The Attributes of Enabling Organisational Climate.
  4. Chapter IV: Peculiarities of Military Environment; the Military Dysfunctions.
  5. Chapter V: Role of Effective Leadership in Enhancing Organisational Climate.
  6. The Organisational Climate of a Soldier Assessed and the Way Forward.
  7. Conclusion.



Organisational Climate Defined

Organisational climate has proved to be hard to define[7]. When we deal with organisational climate we face two especially intractable and related difficulties:-

  1. How to define organisational climate?
  2. How to measure it effectively on different levels of analysis?

As per Udai Pareek, an organisation[8] has a structure ( division of work into units, and the interlink ages between units), and develops systems( structured way of managing the major functions of the organisation, like finance, production, personnel, information, relationship with external environment). Each organisation also has norms (accepted patterns of behaviour) and values. Norms and values, and the traditions of the organisation, makes the culture.

The main actors are its top leaders and the persons working in the organisation. All these – the organisational structure, systems, culture, leader’s behaviour, and psychological needs of employees – interact with one another and create Organisational Climate[9].

Organisational Climate is generally perceived[10] or felt by the employees. Thus most often when we talk of organisational climate, we mean perceived organisational climate. Employees may perceive organisational climate as hostile or supportive; as conducive to achieving results or promoting formation of cliques.

Climate for an organization[11] is somewhat like the personality for a person. Just as every individual has a personality that makes each person unique, each organization has an organizational climate that clearly distinguishes its personality from other organization. The organizational policy and conviction with regard to its employees and a cluster of other related activities influence the feelings, attitudes and behaviour of its members and results in the creation of the unique organizational climate.

The content of organizational climate has varied widely and they include almost all the important aspect of organizations such as structure, communication, leadership, conflicts, reward system, inter personal relationships organizational effectiveness, reasonability and so forth.

Conceptual Framework

There are several approaches to the concept of climate, of which two[12] in particular have received substantial patronage:-

  1. Cognitive scheme approach.
  2. Shared perception approach.

The Cognitive scheme approach regards the concept of climate as an individual perception and cognitive representation of the work environment. From this perspective climate assessments should be conducted at an individual level.

The Shared perception approach emphasizes the importance of shared perceptions as underpinning the notion of climate (Anderson, & West, 1998; Mathisen & Einarsen 2004). Reichers and Schneider (1990) define organisational climate as “the shared perception of the way things are around here” (p.22). It is important to realize that from these two approaches, there is no “best” approach and they actually have a great deal of overlap.

Kaushik Kundu[13] places conceptual framework of Organisational Climate (as per the major earlier studies) under three principal approaches:-

  1. Multiple Measurements – Organisational Attribute Approach.
  2. Perceptual Measurement – Organisational Attribute Approach.
  3. Perceptual Measurement – Individual Attribute Approach.

Multiple Measurements – Organisational Attribute Approach[14]. The most suitable definition of Organizational Climate under this approach was provided by Forehand and Gilmar (1964). They defined Organizational Climate as a set of characteristics that :-

  1. Distinguish the organization from the other organizations.
  2. Are relatively enduring over time.
  3. Influence the behaviour of the people in the organization.

Forehand and Gilmar model of Multiple Measurements – Organisational Attribute Approach can be summarised as below:-

Perceptual Measurements – Organisational Attribute Approach[15]. The organisational climate is defined under a set of four parameters of organisational situations:-

  1. Structural properties.
  2. Environmental Characteristics.
  3. Organisational Climate.
  4. Formal Role characteristics.

Further four dimensions of organisational climate were presented as below:-

Perceptual Measurements – Individual Attribute Approach[16]. Schneider and Hall[17] (1972) presented Organisational Climate as a set of global perceptions held by individuals about their organisational environment. This model focuses on the Organisational Climate as the sum total of the individual attributes neglecting the organisational parts. The sets of perceptions are basically the result of interactions between the personal and organisational characteristics. In the previous model the emphasis was on the organisational attributes whereas here the focus is on individual attributes neglecting the organisational parts. The individual is considered as an information processor and the inputs used are:-

  1. Objective events and characteristics of an organisation.
  2. Characteristics of the perceiver.

Collective Climate: Unison of Approaches

Collective Climate is a unison model developed by Joyce and Slocum (1984). The collective climate is based on:-

  1. The perceptions of individuals who share common multidimensional descriptions of their work environment.
  2. Consensus amongst work employees of their work settings.
  3. Impacts of technology and workforce demographics are accepted.
  4. It is the perception of particular organisational practices such as structure, technology and control systems.

The collective climate concept unifies the organisational climate from the organisations point of view and psychological climate based on individual’s perception on organisational practices and procedures. Organisational Climate[19] can therefore be best described as the aggregate perceptions of the characteristics of the organisation.

Impact of Organizational Climate

A high level of organizational climate is necessary for the development of organization. Good climate attracts good and efficient personnel to the organization, who contribute to the productivity of the organization.

Affects Motivation, Productivity and Job Satisfaction. Organizational climate can have a major influence on motivation, productivity and job satisfaction. Employees expect certain rewards, penalties, satisfaction or frustrations based on the organizational climate and their expectations tend to lead to motivation as said in expectancy theory.

Contingency Relationship. There is a contingency relationship between climate and the organization. The climate of an organization is contingent upon the type of employees. The type relate to employees education like technical workers, knowledge workers. For example, research institutes certainly want a climate different from that of a workshop or an office.

Social System. Organizational climate represents the entire social system of a work-group. There are two important dimensions of climate are:-

  1. Workplace itself.
  2. Leadership provided by the Management.

If employees feel satisfied while at work and if climate provides a sense of personal worth, it can be assumed that in that organization is favourable. Employees expect the management to feel and care about their needs and problems.

Environmental Variables Influencing Organisational Climate

The environment in an organisation consists of the leader, the leader’s followers, superiors, associates, organisation, job demands and other situational followers.

Leader’s Style and Expectations. One of the most important elements of leadership situation is the style of the leader. Leaders develop their style over a period of time from experience, education, and training. Tannenbaum and Schmidt suggest there are at least four internal forces that influence a manager’s leadership style:-

  1. Leader’s value system.
  2. Confidence in the subordinates.
  3. Leadership inclinations.
  4. Feeling’s of security in an uncertain situation.

Leader’s value system consists of questions as how strongly the manager feels the individual should have a share in the decision making or to what extent the person paid to assume responsibility should carry the burden of decision making. The strength of these convictions will affect the leadership styles and consequently the environment.

Confidence in subordinates depends on whether that leader believes that people are basically lazy, unreliable or irresponsible or that people can be creative and self motivated in an environment if properly motivated.

The leader may also have his inclinations as following a directive style of command or micro managing issues. Feelings of security in an uncertain situation have a definitive impact on the manager’s willingness to release control over decision making to other people in an uncertain environment. In other words it is that leader’s tolerance for ambiguity.

Follower’s Style and expectations. Followers are regarded as the most crucial element in any organisational climate. Followers are vital because individually they accept or reject the leader and as a group determine what personal power that leader will have. Though leaders may attempt to try to change their follower’s styles, they must adapt temporarily to their followers present behaviour. It is important for leaders to know the expectations that followers have about the way they should behave in certain situations. This is important if leaders are new to their position. Their predecessor’s style is then a powerful influence. Leaders must then change their style or change follower’s expectations. Since leader’s styles have developed over a long period of time it is difficult for them to adapt, therefore it is more appropriate to change the expectations of their followers.

Organisations permit greater freedom to subordinates to operate in cases where the following essential conditions are met[21]:-

  1. If employees have a relative high degree of ambiguity.
  2. If they are interested in the problem and feel it is important.
  3. If they understand and identify with the goals of the organisation.
  4. If they have necessary knowledge and experience to deal with the problem.
  5. If they have learned to expect to share in decision making.

Superiors Styles and expectations. Another important ingredient in a organisations culture is the leadership style of one’s boss i.e. the leader’s leader. Meeting the superior’s expectations forms a important factor affecting the leaders style. To take a few examples:-

  1. If a boss is very task oriented, for example, the leader may expect subordinates to behave in a particular manner.
  2. Relationship oriented behaviour may be deemed as inappropriate.

It is important for the leader to know the expectations of his boss particularly if they are to advance in a organisation. If they are predisposed towards promotion, they may tend to adhere to the customs styles and expectations of the group they aspire to join rather than those of their peer group. Consequently, the expectations of boss become more important than other groups, as in followers or associates[22].

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Associates Styles and Expectations. A leader’s associates are those individuals who have similar positions within the organisation. For leaders who are satisfied with their present positions, the expectations of their associates may be more important than those of their superiors. An example of this in military can be superseded and reemployed officers, who are more concerned with their peer group, other colleagues or officers rather than be concerned about immediate boss. As a result the commanders or General officer Commanding (GOC) at various levels have little power position over the superseded or reemployed officers.

Organisation’s Style and Expectations. The style of an organisation is determined by its history and tradition, as well as the organisational goals and objectives that reflect the style and expectations of present top management. An organisation much like an individual becomes characterised by certain modes of behaviour that are perceived as its style. This may be referred to as the process of institutionalisation[23]. In this process the, organisation is infused with a system of values that reflects its history and people who have played a vital role in its growth.

Some organisations lay more emphasis on values, honesty, integrity and dynamism as the military while others may hold notion that imaginative, decisive and persuasive leader is more desirable. Still others may lay more emphasis on ability of leader to work effectively with people – human relations skill[24].

The members of an organisation soon become conscious of value system operating within the institution and guide their many actions from expectations derived from these values. The organisations expectations are most often expressed in form of policies, standard operating procedures, and controls as well as informed customs and traditions developed over a period of time.

Other Situational Variables

Job demands. Another important factor contributing to environment of an organisation is the demands of the job that the organisation has been tasked to perform. As per Fiedler [25] the structured task which lays down specific instructions on what the leaders and their subordinates should do requires a different leadership style than an unstructured task with no prescribed standard operating procedure. Highly structure jobs that require directions seem to require high task behaviour, while unstructured jobs that do not need directions seem to favour relationship oriented behaviour.

Time. Another important element in the environment of a leader is the time available for decision making. If a Commanding Officers or commanders office is burst up in flames, he could not seek opinions or suggestions or use other methods of involvement to determine best way to address a situation. Short time demands a task oriented behaviour. On the other hand if time is not at a premium the leader may evolve a different strategy.

External Environment. Organisations are constantly affected by external variables, and the organisations do not exist in a vacuum and are constantly affected by changes in the society. Several events in our day to day life occur which challenge our societies core beliefs and practices. Factors such as quality of working life and its relationship to performance, participation and satisfaction are well known[26].

Changing Situational Variable. It has been noted that it is always easier to change a man’s environment than to change his personality or his style of relating to others. But best strategy would be to change the style of leaders and other situational variables as identified above. The three variables identified for change are:-

  1. Leader- Member relations.
  2. Position power of the leader.
  3. Task structure.



An organizational climate can arouse various motives[27] and as per Dr Udai Pareek in his book Organisational Behaviour Process, is primarily affected by six motives and can be characterized by the following concerns:-

  1. Achievement. Characterized by concern for excellence, competition with the standards of excellence set by others or by oneself, the setting of challenging goals for oneself, awareness of the hurdles in the way of achie­ving these goals, and persistence in trying alternative paths to one’s goals.
  2. Affiliation. Characterized by a concern for establishing and maintaining close, personal relationships, a value of friendship, and a tendency to express one’s emotion.
  3. Influence. Characterized by concern with making an impact on others, a desire to make people do what one thinks is right, and an urge to change matters and develop people.
  4. Control. Characterised by a concern for orderliness, a desire to be and stay informed, and an urge to monitor and take corrective action when needed.
  5. Extension. Characterized by concern for others, interest in super ordinate goals and an urge to be rele­vant and useful to larger groups, including society.
  6. Dependence. Characterized by a desire for the help of others in one’s own self-development, checking with significant others (those who are more knowledgeable or have higher status, experts, close associates, etc.), submitting ideas or proposals for approval, having an urge to maintain an “approval” relationship.

Organisational Processes Affecting Climate

Organisational Process is reflected in the way the organisation works. The climate is developed by the organisational processes and these processes can be used to determine organisational climate. Twelve organisational processes[28] as dimensions of organisational climate were identified by Udai Pareek (Organisation Behavior Process). The same have been listed in the succeeding paragraphs.

These dimensions can be used to determine organiza­tional climate and the way these dimensions operate in an organization may indicate the underlying motive of the top leadership, and the motive it is likely to arouse and sustain amongst the members of the organization.

Listing these dimensions and motives, we thus have a matrix or a grid with the 12 dimensions on one axis, and the six motives on the other axis. Such a matrix or grid can be used for diagnosis of the motivational climate of an organization. The overall scores will give a profile of the organizational climate on the six motives.

The twelve organisational processes as dimension of organisational climate as identified by Udai Pareek (Organisation Behavior Process) are[29]:-

  1. Orientation. The dominant orientations, characterized by the main concerns of members of the organization, are important determinants of the motivational climate. If the main concern or orientation is to follow laid down rules, the climate will be of one kind (control); if the orientation is to excel and achieve goals, it will be of another kind (achievement).
  2. Interpersonal Relations. Interpersonal relations processes are reflected in the way informal groups are formed. If the groups are formed for protecting their own interests, there may be cliques, creating a specific climate (control), as contrasted with another climate if people have informal relationships with their supervisors (depen­dency).
  3. Supervision. The supervisory process contributes signifi­cantly to climate formation. If the supervisors help their subordinates to improve personal skills and chances of advancement, their behaviour will develop a climate (extension) different from one in which the supervisors are more concerned about maintaining good relations with their subordinates (affiliation).
  4. Managing Problems. Problems can be seen as a challenge, or they can be seen as unnecessary tribulations. Problems can be solved by the supervisor, or jointly with the concerned employee, or can be referred to the higher levels. These different ways contribute to the creation of a climate.
  5. Managing Mistakes. The attitude of the supervisor towards mistakes develops employee orientation: one of annoyance, or concern, or tolerance. Again who helps and how in dealing with mistakes influences the climate.
  6. Managing Conflicts. The conflicts may be seen as annoying and embarrassing and may be covered, or they may be seen as problems to be solved. The process of dealing with conflicts is equally significant for the climate.
  7. Communication. Communication is concerned with the flow of information, its direction (top-down, bottom-up, horizontal), its spread (selective or all concerned), mode (formal or informal), and type (instructions or feedback on state of affairs).
  8. Decision Making. What is the main orientation in decision making: maintaining good relations or achie­ving results? Who make the decisions, people high in the hierarchy, or experts, or those who are involved in the matters about which decisions are made? Such questions will be relevant to see how the decision making process creates a particular motivational climate.
  9. Trust. Amount or lack of trust amongst various members and groups in the organization is relevant for the climate. Who are trusted more by management is also relevant.
  10. Reward Management. What is rewarded in an organization will influence its motivational climate, because what is rewarded reinforces the specific behaviour or orientation, arousing and sustaining a motive.
  11. Risk Taking. How people react to risks, whose help is sought in risking situations and how people respond to risks are relevant for the climate.
  12. Management of Change. Regarding management of change, the pertinent questions will be who initiates change, how change and innovation are perceived, how change is implemented.

Organisational Climate Evaluated

Organisational climate of an organization can be assessed[30] with the help of various instruments. We take the example of one such instrument as elaborated by Udai Pareek (Organisation Behavior Process).

The instrument is called as Motivational Analysis of organizations (Climate) or MAO (C). It provides a profile score of an organization on six motives as mentioned in paragraph 29 above. The highest two scores are generally taken for interpreting the climate. The highest score shows the dominant climate and the next highest the back-up climate. The combination of the first two motives characterizes the organizational climate.

Combinations of these six motives as dominant and secondary climates give 30 profiles. The nature of the organization varies with each of the 30 profiles. By and large, achievement, expert power, and extension dominant climates are conducive to achievement of results, and control, dependency and affiliation dominant climates retard achievement of results. The 30 profiles as identified by Mr Pareek are:-

  1. Achievement-Expert power. People are involved in challen­ging tasks, are highly stimulated by challenges, and the specialists dominate in determining the tasks. The organization rewards specialization.
  2. Achievement-Control. Most people are involved in challenging tasks, but they face a lot of constraints because of rigid procedures of the organization, and more inflexible hierarchy.
  3. Achievement-Dependency. In spite of emphasis on high achievement, shared by most people, there is a tendency to postpone critical decisions for the approval of a higher autho­rity. The organization discourages making such decisions without approval of the higher level, resulting in a sense of frustration.
  4. Achievement-Extension. People work on challenging tasks with equal attention on social relevance of such tasks. The organization has a high sense of social responsibility and also pays attention to the employee needs.
  5. Achievement-Affiliation. While people working on challenging goals, they form strong groups based on speciality, department, language, region, etc. The organization, with such in-groups or cliques, pays a lot of attention to maintaining good relations amongst the groups.
  6. Expert power-Achievement. The organization pays high value to specialization, and specialists influence most decisions, with emphasis on high quality of work, and unique contributions.
  7. Expert power-Control. The organization is controlled by experts with cumbersome procedures, resulting in lack of job satisfaction and not-high output.
  8. Expert power-Dependency. An organization dominated by experts, with rigid hierarchy, decisions being passed-up the hierarchical line. Bright employees remain highly dissatisfied.
  9. Expert power-Extension. Specialists play the major role in organizational matters, working in a planned way on socially relevant matters. The organization pays attention to the employees’ needs and welfare.
  10. Expert power-Affiliation. An expert-dominated organization, with in-groups based on specialties, languages, regions, etc. The organization’s attention is much more on maintaining good friendly climate and usually results suffer.
  11. Control-Achievement. The organization is bureaucratic, laying down detailed procedures, with clear hierarchy. The organization emphasizes quality of work, but most employees with achievement orientation get frustrated. Some public sector organizations have this climate.
  12. Control-Expert Power. A bureaucratic organization in which specialists’ opinions are valued, but rules are treated as more important.
  13. Control-Dependency. A bureaucratic organization with rigid hierarchy, where all actions are referred to levels above for approval, and decisions get delayed. Following rules and proper adherence to regulations are more important than achieving results. The senior persons protect their subordinates who do not make any procedural mistakes. Most government offices function this way.
  14. Control-Extension. A hierarchical organization with social concern and paying attention to the needs and welfare of the employees.
  15. Control-Affiliation. A hierarchical organization with low concern for results; more emphasis on good relations. However, informal groups based on relationship have an im­portant place. Some voluntary organizations are of this type.
  16. Dependency-Achievement. The organization emphasizes respect for persons in power; all major decisions are referred to them. However, achievement of results is rewarded, and enough freedom is given to persons, with key decisions being controlled by a few who have the last word on all matters. Many family-owned organizations have such a climate.
  17. Dependency-Expert Power. The organization has hierarchy, the decision being referred to higher level for approval. The experts play an important role in the various aspects of the working of the organization.
  18. Dependency-Control. An organization controlled by a few persons who have clear-cut channels of communication, and get all the decisions for final approval.
  19. Dependency-Extension. A traditional organization work­ing in socially relevant areas dominated and controlled by a few persons demanding all respect from other members, and taking care of the needs of the members.
  20. Dependency-Affiliation. A traditional organization with the top management group controlling all matters, employing their own in-group members, who have high loyalty to their leaders.
  21. Extension-Achievement. The organization has goals of being relevant to the society with emphasis on achieving its results. Persons are selected for their competence and are given freedom to work.
  22. Extension-Expert Power. An organization with social consciousness, using experts who influence all the major decisions.
  23. Extension-Control. An organization with goals of serving a larger cause, but having bureaucratic structure, with rules and regulations to be followed strictly.
  24. Extension-Dependency. An organization in the area of community service such as education, health, development, emphasizing conformity to the policies laid down by the top person or team who require all matters to be referred to it for final decision
  25. Extension-Affiliation. An organization in the area of community service in which members with similar background (caste, ideology, specialization, region, language, kinship, etc.) work with strong linkages with one another.
  26. Affiliation-Achievement. The organization gives high importance to relationships, and draws people with similar background (language, caste, region, etc.). The organization also values achievement of results and excellence in performance. However rewards are mainly given on the basis of relationship.
  27. Affiliation-Expert Power. The organization mainly consisting of experts emphasizes good relations, and either consists of persons of same background, or has in-groups (cliques) based on some common links.
  28. Affiliation-Control. An organization involved in main-good relations, but having a bureaucratic form. A club maintaining strict rules and procedures could be in this category.
  29. Affiliation-Dependency. An organization giving high value to maintaining friendly relations amongst the members, and in which one or two persons decide most of the matters. People are rewarded on the basis of their closeness to the top person(s).
  30. Affiliation-Extension. An organization with main goal of good relationship working on socially relevant aspects. Lions club and similar organizations could be in this category.
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An organisation which exhibits unhealthy culture ceases to inspire confidence amongst its employees and loses its productivity. Every organisation which desires to evolve must subject itself to intense scrutiny and weed out practices which are redundant and unhealthy. A few of the attributes that organisations with poor culture exhibit are listed in the succeeding paragraphs.

Caidn’s Model[31]. As per Caidn definition organisation’s which posses a unhealthy climate tend to be bureaucratic, and exhibit the following characteristics :-

  1. Process assumes more importance than the purpose.
  2. Authority assumes more importance than the service itself.
  3. The form of the job is more important than the job itself.
  4. Precedence assumes more importance than adaptability.

Healthy organisational model by contrast shows[32]:-

  1. A purposeful action assumes more importance than the process itself.
  2. The job is more important than the authority.
  3. Adaptability and cooperation are more hallmarks of more positive cultures.

Hebert Shepard’s Primary and Secondary Assumptions[33]. These provide another way of looking at organisational culture:-

  1. Shepard’s Primary Mentality Assumptions:-
    1. Coercion.
    2. Cut-throat competition.
    3. Compromise of principles.
  2. Shepard’s Secondary Mentality Assumptions are the norm in healthy organisational climates:-
    1. Cooperation.
    2. Collaboration.
    3. Consensus seeking behaviour.

Ruth Benedict’s Concepts:- Healthy and unhealthy organisational cultures can also be viewed in light of Ruth Benedict’s Concepts[34] of high and low synergy groups and societies:-

  1. Benedict’s Concept of low synergy. A low synergy group or a society is one which the interests of the individuals as a whole and those of the group as a whole are at odds.
  2. Benedict’s Concept of high synergy. A high synergy group or a society is one which the interests of the individuals and the interests of the group as a whole are in harmony.

Mary Parker Follett’s View[35]. In Mary Parker Follett’s view the role of the leader or manager is to unleash the creative energies in ways that nurture the healthy development and contribute to the highest purposes of individuals, organizations, and society in general.

  1. Mary Parker Follett’s Concept of “Power over”. A power over approach to management and leadership is characterised by an authoritarian approach to wielding power.
  2. Mary Parker Follett’s Concept of “Power with”. A power over approach to management and leadership empowers others, nurturing the development of their capabilities and increasing their capacity to take on and carry out enhanced responsibilities.

Thus elaborating the above we can deduce that Organizations with healthy organizational climates breed leaders and facilitators who use their power to nurture and empower. The use of “power with” approaches can be the key to transforming unhealthy organizational cultures into healthy organizational cultures; unleashing creative energies, and sustaining the health of organizational cultures.

Abraham Maslow’s Concept of “Metamotivation.[36]” Maslow defined “metamotivation” as “being as concerned for the welfare of others as one is for one’s own welfare.” Organizations that have healthy organizational cultures have leaders and managers who act in “metamotivated” ways in crisis as well as non-crisis situations.

Thus a “metamotivated leader or manager[37]” is one who:-

  1. Helps foster and sustain a collaborative culture characterized by honesty, trust, and openness.
  2. A culture that is conducive to creativity and “thinking outside of the box.
  3. Culture that empowers individuals and nurtures their development and their capacity.
  4. Enables them to assume increasing responsibility in carrying out the mission of an organization.
  5. Promotes a climate conducive to decisions and actions that are in the best interests of the organisation.

Summarising the attributes of healthy organisation’s we can conclude[38]:-

  1. Leadership in healthy organizational cultures use non-threatening, non-coercive, and educational approaches that reflect ethical purposes and values.
  2. The actions of those in healthy organizational cultures are not driven by negative motivators such as shame, fear, guilt, anxiety, distrust, or hatred.
  3. Leaders and managers in healthy organizational cultures do not act in controlling, manipulative, and stress-inducing ways that foster such responses.
  4. Lessons are continually to be learned from experience, including problems and failures.
  5. A supportive climate fosters risk taking and learning from mistakes and problems.
  6. Bold and truthful reporting is encouraged, and reports on wrongdoing or problems sought.
  7. When things go wrong, individuals are not made scapegoats and organisation holds their hand.
  8. When errors, accidents, and failures occur; there is support, forgiveness, and understanding for those involved.
  9. Purpose, service and job are more important than the process itself.
  10. There is constructive cooperation, collaboration and consensus seeking behaviour.
  11. The interests of the group and the individual are in harmony.

Characteristics of a Healthy vs. Unhealthy Organization[39]. The table below gives certain parameters used to measure the organisational climate of a work place.



The Military Dysfunctions

Socio Economic Environment of a Soldier[40]. Recruits which are taken in to the Armed forces are a part of the society before they join the armed forces. The society as a whole has a definitive effect on the individual. The Indian social scenario is also evolving and dynamic. The technological advancements coupled with advent of radio and televisions have reduced the informational divide and have increased the general awareness of the population. Rural India though an agrarian society also has aspirations of its own and these the burgeoning India needs to meet. The service sector is coupled with agriculture or the manufacturing including the Info technology are on a growth spiral.

Liberalisation and consequent growth rates of 9% and multitude of opportunities to youth outside have led to affluence within a certain section of the society. While the other India resembles a picture of frustration and have not’s. This also gives rise to movements such as the Maoist struggle within certain parts of India. Materialism in the society is an accepted phenomenon and an associated decline in the value system of the society. We are thus in interesting and challenging times.

Materialism. As discussed earlier the prevailing perception and own wisdom dictates that there has been a decline in the value system in the armed forces in particular and within the society as a whole. The armed forces cannot be an island, isolated from the environment. This factor will have to be catered for and accounted in our training institutes and also when weighing the rewards or the pay packages across all levels of the organisation.

Joint Family System. The soldier of the yester years banked on the joint family system to take care of his family when away on call of the duty. However with the advent of the nuclear family system this joint family system has collapsed bringing about immense leadership challenges.

Politics of Hate. The vote bank politics and post mandalisation of society, there has been an increased fragmentation of society. This is generally based on caste, or creed or religious lines. Thankfully armed forces have so far been saved such an agony but we need to be aware of the same. The recent case of Lt Col Purohit and his subsequent arrest for presumed right wing ideology is a case in point. We in India are a committed a political army and need to maintain as such.

Social Order. The Army Chief as per the order of precedence ranks 11th. At Independence the Chief stood at 2nd in the order. If this has been the degeneration in standing of chief of the Army Staff one can well imagine the standing of a lowly soldier within the society.

Statesmanship and Governance. There has been a deep collapse of governance in certain states of the nation and coupled with ineffective leadership has rendered large sections of society frustrated. The personal problems of a soldier are rarely addressed to, and more so when he is deployed far away from his place of residence responding to the call of duty.

Erosion in Moral Values. This fact needs little elaboration and facts are around us in our day to day life.

Officer Commune

Having seen the socio economic problems faced by a soldier outside the realm of armed forces let us now analyse some of the aspects affecting the officer cadre and consequently the organisation as a whole. The challenges faced by the organisation today are multifarious, with few of them being listed below:-:

  1. Personal preferences and hyper sensibilities of senior officers.
  2. The zero error syndromes.
  3. Crass careerisms amongst officers, both at senior and junior levels.
  4. Placing personal interests above those of the organisation.
  5. Promoting regionalism and favouritism.
  6. Lack of moral courage.
  7. Fixated ideas and mindset, with lack of application and creativity.
  8. Tendency to have myopic vision and being fixated with one’s tenure rather than organisational growth as a whole.

Besides the common perception that holds well is that the middle and lower level leadership is found wanting. However the rot stems right through the system, with younger generation officers also being bred in the same way as predecessors and thus becoming victims of same malaises. There has been general erosion in the areas of ethical, moral values, and the society as a whole is more inclined towards materialistic benefits. In today’s military environment career enhancements are an accepted phenomenon and organisational indeed takes a back seat.

Problems at Levels of Staff Officers

So what’s the problem at the level of staff officers? It’s very simple – WE FORGET. The battalion (bn) is the basic fighting unit and the rest of the organization has been created to assist it. But the moment an officer moves from battalion to a staff appointment, he (most of them, if not all) undergo a phenomenal change in outlook. The officer no more remain a soldier & the weight of files, reports, presentations and paperwork turn me overnight into a bureaucrat.

Let’s elaborate this with help of a few day to day instances of these that officers and jawans at unit level encounter. These are enumerated in the succeeding paragraphs.

Psychological Dominance. The first issue is of psychological dominance. The higher the Head quarter (HQ), more the power it holds. Irrespective of the rank of an officer, the mode of interaction is mostly dictated by the level of HQ one represents. Be it interaction for posting, pay & allowances, MES works, collection of stores or rations, obtaining data from a HQ, getting reservation from the Movement control office, etc, etc, the sit remains the same. It is not uncommon for a senior officer to be speaking to a junior officer at a higher HQ in an appeasing tone. The bn requests and the staff give or refuse as the case may be. Now this leaves the bn officers, JCOs & men with a permanent complex while dealing with higher HQ. The meaning of a staff officer being a facilitator gets lost.

Reports and Returns. The next issue is of reports & returns which has always been a sore point. The last link in the chain for generating any data, obtaining any information, offering any comment on any subject, which is a bn, is always hard pressed to meet deadlines & produce reams of paperwork. The interesting part is, however, nobody knows where it all goes. How much of it is actually required or how much of it is duplicated. Everything is priority one alfa, and it is required to be submitted by yesterday. How many times have we noticed having received a letter dated 7th received on 10th asking for certain feedback by 9th!

Accountability. Another important issue is of accountability. It is indeed a wonder that while a bn is always accountable to the senior formation, the vice versa is never heard of. Has anyone, for example, heard of a ‘reminder’ from the bn to the brigade HQ? And it is not that there are no occasions when it is warranted. In fact there are many, many of them. On the other hand it is not rare to find ‘Advance Reminders’ in the dak for the units.

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Charter of Duties. Linked with accountability is the issue of charter of duties. The question – whose job is it anyway? We observe that it has become a common practice these days wherein the formation staff expects the units to do what essentially is their job. We all see how the Commanding Officers of the units are getting increasingly employed as proxy staff officers of the formation HQ. And how the unit adjutants are left to do what the formation staff should have done. For example, why should a unit be drafting general instructions for, say, Inter battalion football competition, when it is signed by the brigade/division GSO-1 & issued by brigade/division HQs? This is a poor exhibition of “delegation”.

Commanders Directions. Another of the common declarations of a staff officer to justify his helplessness is that “those are commander’s directions”. Firstly, the staff officer did not want to bell the cat, so it is convenient to blame it on the commander. Secondly, assuming that the commander actually gave those directions, were they interpreted in context? And didn’t we learn that it’s a staff officers bonafide duty to advise the commander, and to project unit’s contention to him?

Paperwork. It is amazing how much paperwork we are capable of generating for ourselves. Off late, the units are overwhelmed by the requirement of various certificates, certifying that all actions have been completed. These certificates range from correctness of arms, ammunition, controlled stores, men, material, vehicles, briefing of military transport drivers, checking of electrical circuits, interviewing individuals, etc, etc. Ingenuity is the norm here!

Red Tape. Many of us have from time to time; have run into blocks in the form of observations on cases taken up. For example, try and initiate a request for permission to travel abroad on leave, a citation for an award, or better still, try & obtain a ‘Deviation Sanction’. Commanding officers and units have been known to have completed their tenure with the deviation sanction file Handed Over On Relief to the incoming unit. There is no dearth of bureaucracy here. The Information Brochure has been the nemesis of many a units. With every change in the hierarchy, the form, substance & presentation of the Brochure must undergo a change. The adjutant actually goes into a stupor by the time new brochure is finalized. By this time the commander already knows more about the unit than the Information Brochure can possibly divulge.

Verbal Vs Written. We have reached a stage, or so it seems, that the word of a gentleman no longer carries weight. A written report, reply, request, reminder or reprove is the norm rather than the exception. ‘Log Messages’ are the latest BRAHMOS in the armoury – flowing fast & furious, up & down the OFC. It is not uncommon for the duty clerk to wake up the adjutant at 11:30 PM, informing him the requirement of detailing a working party of 1 JCO, 1 NCO & 6 OR to report at 6 AM the next day. I will not further elaborate upon the chain reaction that follows, to save you from painful memories.

Verbosity. On being presented with a complicated document, Sir Winston Churchill once gave this example to an American General – “What if, instead of saying ‘We will fight on the beaches’, it is put across as ‘Hostilities will be engaged with our adversary on the coastal perimeter’!” The length of a document, verbosity & flowery language are the latest benchmark of paper work. There is indeed strength in length. Sir Churchill, once again the master of wit, on being presented with a thick file remarked – ” The paper by its very length defends itself against the risk of being read”

Attachments & Duties. Even with an available strength of nearly fifty percent of the authorized strength, units are often requisitioned to provide all kind of sp – vehicles, officer on special duties, computer operators, clerks, service staff; etc the list is endless, to higher HQs, who in any case are with full authorized strength. The most challenging part is however extricating these indispensable categories of people once their detailment is over. The two hapless adjutants are at each other’s throat. One is trying to delay his part of the detailment and other threatening to withdraw his detailment without relief. And have you ever felt how indifferent the staff officers in this entire episode behave?

Paradigm. I have realized that most of our responses are guided by this strange desire to create or follow the PARADIGMS.

Military Stressors

The 1995 Department of Defence Worldwide Survey of Health Related Behaviours (DOD Survey) found that 69 percent of service members reported some job related stress and 16 percent reported being under a great deal of stress due to life in the military[42]. Family stress was also high at 50 percent. The types of stressors varied depending on your sex. However, regardless of whether you are male or female on active duty, the top stressors were very similar.

Workplace Stressors

Having seen the military stressors we realize that the sources of workplace stress are many. These are applicable to a military environment as much as any other place. The chart below lists some of these sources:-

Sources of Workplace Stress

  1. Role Conflict
  2. Role Ambiguity
  3. Work Group Relations
  4. Job Future Ambiguity
  5. Autonomy
  6. Supervisor Performance
  7. Overload
  8. Control
  9. Feedback
  10. Co-worker Support
  11. Demands & Pressures
  12. Frequent Disagreements

Stressors outside of the work environment also affect a worker’s job performance. For example, family demands, particularly on dual career or single-parent households, can be significant work disrupters. Marital conflict, problems caring for elderly parents, the health status of a family member, and more can also affect us at work. In general, workplace stress can be reduced to four core areas:-

  1. Lack of Control over the Work and Workplace.
  2. Presence of Uncertainty.
  3. Existence of Dysfunctional Conflict.
  4. General Task and Work Demands.

Low Intensity Conflict Operations

Nature of Comb in Counter Insurgency Operations[46]. The counter insurgency operations are strategically defensive in nature & are intended to permit normal political, social & economic activities in the society. The terrorists use fear & terror as their principle weapon, attacking military & civil population at times & places of their choice in order to create an impression that the govt cannot protect itself or its people. Their tactics are deliberately designed to cause breakdown of military professionalism & discipline. By hiding among the civilian populace & using women & children as combatants, terrorists provoke the defending forces to perceive the people as unworthy of protection. Innocent persons are singled out for the most atrocious attacks because of their shock value.

Stressors in Counter Insurgency Operations

The common stressors in Counter Insurgency Operations are:-

  1. Inability to decisively engage the enemy.
  2. Inability to retaliate with full force.
  3. Continuing conflict with slow progress.
  4. Unsure of the location & direction of attack.
  5. Restriction of fire power & force, to prevent destruction of civilian country side.
  6. Frustration over not finding the en.
  7. Long tenures.
  8. Role conflict-being friends & warriors at the same time.
  9. Overreacting to en’s hit & run tactics.
  10. Non cooperation of locals because of militant pressure & fear.
  11. Enduring uncomfortable living conditions.
  12. Restrictions on move.
  13. Family problems.
  14. Lack of adequate knowledge about local language & culture.

Combat Stress

It is the stress due to combat environment that affects a soldier. Thus Combat Stressors are stressors affecting an individual during combat. These are:-

  1. Physical Stressors – Physiological.
  2. Psychological Stressors – Cognitive, Emotional.
  3. Organisational Stressors – Role & Goal.

Combat Stress Behaviours

In broad generic terms, these can be categorized as follows:-

  1. Positive Stress Behaviours such as bonding, esprit de corps, cohesion, heroic acts etc.
  2. Negative Stress Behaviours to include:-
    1. Combat fatigue.
    2. Misconduct behaviours.
    3. Other negative stress behaviours (untold story).
    4. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  3. Psychiatric disorders i.e. specific conditions independent of stress.




“The feeling between the regimental officer and the staff officer is as old as the history. I have been a regimental officer in two minor wars and realized what a poor hand the staff made of things and what a safe luxurious life they led; I was a staff officer in the First World War and realized that the staff were worked to the bone to try and keep the regimental officer on the rails; I have been a higher Commander in one minor and major war and have sympathised with the views of both staff and regimental officer”. A.P.W.

Leadership Styles Analysed

We analyse a few leadership styles in brief and see which ones are best suited for our organisation and traits we need to develop to inculcate the same.

Transactional Leadership

A transactional leader, considers the relationship between him and his subordinates as transaction in which the followers’ needs, are met if their performance comes up to the explicit or implicit contract with, the leader. He recognises what are the objectives of his organisation and knows that actions must be taken by the subordinates to achieve those objectives.

He clarifies the role and task requirements to the subordinates so that they are confident in exercising necessary efforts. He also recognises the subordinates’ needs and wants, but makes clear to them that the satisfaction of these is dependent upon the types of efforts they would make for achieving the organisation’s objectives.

Talking in terms of motivation, the transactional leader has the following characteristics:

  1. Contingent Reward and Punishment. The transactional leader mainly works through the exploitation of the physiological and security needs of the subordinates. He uses material rewards, welfare measures, and appraisal methods for motivating them to work.
  2. Management by Exception. A transactional leader prefers to intervene only when things go wrong. This makes the subordinates feel that so long as they are working well, no one takes note of them. There is no word of praise for a job done well.
  3. A Diffident Style. It seems that somewhere deep down in his heart a transactional leader remains unsure about the efficacy of his method of motivating the subordinates. That makes him suffer from a guilt feeling. As a result of that he fails to become genuine and spontaneous in his interactions with his subordinates.
  4. Ineffective Communication. Also, a transactional leader, in the manner of giving feedback to his subordinates, is more general than specific. The subordinates, therefore, think that the leader is not blaming any of them for the things which have gone wrong.

In sum, transactional leader depends upon external reinforcement to motivate his subordinates. They perceive him as capable of delivering pay, perquisites and promotions to them. No leader can fulfil these expectations of his subordinates on a regular basis. Therefore, when he fails to live up to those expectations, he is considered an ineffective leader.

Transformational Leadership

Characteristics of Transformational Leader. A transformational leader as opposed to transactional leadership relies more on intrinsic rather than extrinsic rewards, to motivate his subordinates. His main characteristics are:

  1. Situation Sensitivity and Style Flexibility. A transformational leader’s approach to work is based on a balanced mix of rational and emotional factors. He knows that the highly programmed method of working is the worst tyranny. In designing works programmes, therefore, he provides enough scope for soothing the emotions of subordinates.
  2. Inspirational Leadership. A transformational leader knows that striving for excellence and producing of high quality performance could be as intense a desire of workers as any, provided they are explained their jobs thoroughly.
  3. Individualised Attention and Consideration. Each of us has an ego. To save it from hurt or injury and to sustain it under all circumstances is the innermost desire of all of us. In a way, that also promotes individualism. A transformational leader understands the importance of this phenomenon very well. He also recognises the contribution its promotion can make to quality performances. He, therefore, encourages it through personal influence and one-to-one relationship. He also develops individualism of his junior leaders by assigning them jobs involving responsibility and delegating to them authority commensurate with the responsibility. Bass writes, ‘Military leaders need to avoid treating all subordinates alike’. They must discover what best motivates each individual soldier or sailor, and how to employ him most effectively. They must be generous in, the use of their time.
  4. Role Model. A transformational leader also serves as the role model for his subordinates. This is the spirit which he imbibes from his seniors while working with them at the earlier stages of his career. Later, it may become conscious or unconscious part of his behaviour.
  5. Management by Human Values. Above all, a transformational leader is often guided by a moral code and certain ethical values. He cares a lot for human dignity and equal rights. He arouses no false hopes and makes no tall promises to his subordinates. By serving their real instead of manufactured needs, a transformational leader saves the subordinates from suffering delusions at a later date.
  6. Charismatic Leadership. A transformational leader has greater chances to acquire the image of being charismatic as against a transactional leader. Charisma is a two-way process. It gets formed easily when the leader has high personal power and the subordinates are of a highly dependent type. It often emerges in situations of stress. A transformational leader by providing encouragement and support to the subordinates at the time of stress wins over their trust and confidence.

What is Total Quality Leadership (TQL)?

When one of our governing values is total quality, we will care not only about the quality of our products and services, but also about the quality of our liv

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