Author

Organizational Climate in the Peruvian Army: The Permanent Challenge of the Leaders

Summary:

The organizational climate is one of the key factors for the fulfillment of the goals and objectives of an organization since there is a significant relationship between the organizational climate, satisfaction and work performance. Through the development of an adequate organizational climate in the units and dependencies of the Army, it is possible to motivate personnel, increase the level of efficiency at work, guide subordinates efficiently, fulfill daily tasks and develop the appropriate skills to adapt and cope with unforeseen situations. In this sense, leaders need to know the main problems that influence the performance of the human factor, as well as acquire skills to successfully lead their staff, influencing their emotional state and positively impacting job satisfaction and performance. This article analyzes the challenges faced by a military leader and the capabilities he must develop to achieve an adequate organizational climate in army units and dependencies.

Keywords: Organizational Climate, job satisfaction, emotional state, performance, leader, motivation, empathy.

Introduction:

The Peruvian Army has been implementing a process of institutional transformation that aims, among other aspects, to introduce significant changes in its organizational structure. Consequently, the transformation of the Army multiplies the change of mentality of its members as a fundamental factor for the success of this process. For this, it is essential to generate an adequate organizational climate in the units and dependencies of this institution, impacting its performance and the achievement of its objectives.

In recent years, the Army has assumed greater prominence in the fulfillment of the different strategic roles assigned by the Peruvian State. Its work ranges from participation in the Disaster Risk Management System to the support it provides to the National Police and other sectors to face emergency situations. During the fulfillment of these tasks, military leaders gain notorious preponderance because their skills and attitudes impact on the fulfillment of the assigned mission. In that sense, it must be recognized that the leaders are the main actors for the development of an adequate organizational climate. Therefore, the Army must focus on the development of leaders, identifying those factors that contribute to good leadership.

This article analyzes the problems and challenges faced by military leaders to achieve an adequate organizational climate, considering those factors that influence the generation of an adequate emotional state. Likewise, it offers a proposal of the skills that every leader must develop to lead his staff to the fulfillment of their objectives within an environment of motivation and general well-being.

Relationship between organizational climate and leadership

In 1979, Professors Litwin and Stinger conducted a study called “motivation and organizational climate” in order to verify the relationship between leadership style and organizational climate, as well as its impacts on people and organization.[1] As a result, teachers found that each leadership style generates a distinct organizational climate, impacting not only worker motivation, performance, and satisfaction, but also organizational performance. In that sense, they identified the following nine dimensions that facilitate the measurement of the existing climate in any organization: structure, responsibility, reward, risk, human warmth, support, performance standards, conflicts and identity.[2]

Undoubtedly, in the Army’s dependencies and units coexist numerous factors that affect the work performance of its members, generating an organizational climate that is often inappropriate. One of these factors is the presence of personnel who do not effectively fulfill the assigned tasks due to their limited knowledge and experience, but also due to their lack of motivation and negative attitude to fulfill their functions. In addition, another factor is the existence of impolite treatment, and, to a certain extent, contempt or subordination, which prevents the recognition and value of staff. Therefore, military leaders play a very important role not only in identifying these factors, but also in taking steps to solve these problems. In this context, the leader is one who has the ability to lead a human group to achieve the established goals, positively influencing through their abilities and knowledge.

Challenges of the military leader in the organizational climate

Litwin and Stringer define the organizational climate as “the direct or indirect perceptions of people, about a set of properties of the work environment in which those people work and that is supposed to influence their motivations and behaviors.”[3] Therefore, in order to promote the development of an adequate organizational climate, it is essential that the staff fulfill their functions while maintaining an optimal emotional state, which is generated by the leader. [4] However, the leader has to be aware of his own emotions and how they affect those around him.

According to psychologist and writer Daniel Goleman, to be successful, a leader must exercise and be aware of his emotions. Likewise, you should know how your emotional competence influences the way you lead and the effect it generates on your followers.[5] Therefore, the leader is the main protagonist in inducing the emotional state of the group. In that sense, the generation of a good work environment begins with the respect of the leader to his subordinates, where the greeting is the main sign of respect among the members of the organization. Leaders should be aware that by greeting each of the members, it generates trust, respect and improves the mood.

In the Military Leadership course that is given in the training schools of the Army, there are several aspects considered, such as the definition of leadership, the capabilities of the leader, the principles of leadership, the morale of the leader, personal qualities, influences on leadership, among others. These aspects are considered both in the training and in the training of the members of the institution, forming the basis of the education of the military leader.[6] However, it is essential that the military leader develops various skills to positively influence the members of the organization, generating a good organizational climate.

As mentioned, one of these abilities is “emotional intelligence,” which according to psychologist Daniel Goleman is the faculty of recognizing our own feelings and those of others to self-motivate and properly manage our emotions and relationships. Therefore, “self-awareness” is the basis for developing this capacity as it has the potential to help all leaders adapt better and be more effective.[7] Self-awareness is relevant to face tasks that require the cultural sensitivity and adaptability of a leader to the inevitable environmental changes.[8]

“Empathy” is the ability that the military leader must develop because it fosters trust in the relationships between the members of the organization. The leader who harnesses the power of true empathy fosters better communication, closer cohesion, stricter discipline, and better morale throughout the organization.[9] Through empathy, the leader manages to put himself in the place of the other person, leaving aside – momentarily – his own opinions and prejudices.[10] The leader must use their cognitive skills to be aware and reflect from the other person’s perspective, understanding their thoughts, feelings, reactions, concerns, and motivations.[11] The fact of being interested in the other person does not necessarily mean that it is consistent with their positions, their logic or their points of view.

“Critical thinking” is another important capability that every military leader must develop, especially when making decisions that impact the present and future of the organization. To facilitate this process, the good leader must develop the ability to structure and defend an argument while applying reasoning. Likewise, it must be conscious, authentic and honest in recognizing and arguing against the logical fallacies that it observes.[12] In this sense, in the face of complex problems, the leader must invite and involve the other members of the organization to the debate to obtain more information, know other options, create consensus and make a decision that allows them to meet the tasks or goals planned.

This interaction helps leaders discern between facts and opinions, as well as link conclusions to evidence, while avoiding falling into familiar cognitive traps, such as “false cause” or an “appeal to an unqualified authority.”[13] Debate is useful even in cases where there is an initial agreement because it raises new questions, helping to identify and confront hidden presumptions and prejudices. Therefore, the effective debate ends with a synthesis of all points of view and a better collective understanding of the dimensions of the problem before moving forward and identifying solutions.

The military leader must be aware that his behavior impacts not only the behavior of his subordinates, but also the performance of the organization.

Conclusion

The transformation of the Peruvian Army involves the change of the existing organizational culture in the institution. For this, it is essential to manage an adequate organizational climate in the units and dependencies of the institution, as well as to focus on the development of leaders. On the one hand, the emotional state of subordinates is the key to the existence of a good organizational climate. On the other hand, the military leader must be effective in directing his subordinates through motivation and the consolidation of an adequate emotional state. Likewise, the military leader must develop critical counseling and adequate emotional intelligence, encouraging his subordinates to do so as well and being empathetic with them.

End Notes

  1. Beatriz Acosta Uribe y Cyntia Venegas Gómez, “Clima organizacional en una empresa cervecera: Un estudio exploratorio”, Revista de Revista de Investigación en Psicología de la Universidad nacional Mayor de San Marcos (Perú: 2010), 163-172, https://revistasinvestigacion.unmsm.edu.pe/index.php/psico/article/view/3744/3006, (accessed May 4, 2021).
  2. George Litwin y Robert Stringer, Motivation and Organizational Climate, (Boston: Harvard University Graduate School of Business Administration Division of Research, 1968).
  3. Ibid.
  4. Gerald F. Sewell, “La inteligencia emocional y el modelo de requisitos de liderazgo del ejército”, Military Review Revista Profesional del Ejército de EUA Edición Hispanoamericana(March-April 2010), https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/military-review/Archives/Spanish/MilitaryReview_20100430_art011SPA.pdf (accessed May 9, 2021).
  5. Daniel Goleman, What makes a leader: Why emotional intelligence matters, (Massachusetts, Cambridge: Harvard Business Review, November-December 1998), 93-102.
  6. Reglamento del Ejército 31-54, Liderazgo Militar (Perú: Ejército del Perú, December 4, 2013).
  7. Gerald F. Sewell, “La inteligencia emocional y el modelo de requisitos de liderazgo del ejército”.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Harry C. Garner, “Empatía – una verdadera destreza de líder”, Military Review Revista Profesional del Ejército de EUA Edición Hispanoamericana (March-April 2010), https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/military-review/Archives/Spanish/Directors-Select/Garner-Empatia-una-verdadera-destreza-de-lider-SPA-DSA-Oct-2018.pdf (accessed May 12, 2021).
  10. Ibid.
  11. John McDougall, “El liderazgo empático como comprender el dominio humano”, Military Review Revista Profesional del Ejército de EUA Edición Hispanoamericana (second quarter 2020), https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Edicion-Hispanoamericana/Archivos/Segundo-Trimestre-2020/El-liderazgo-empatico/ (accessed May 12, 2021).
  12. Thomas M. Williams, “Educación para el pensamiento crítico”, Military Review Revista Profesional del Ejército de EUA Edición Hispanoamericana (March-April 2013) https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Portals/7/military-review/Archives/Spanish/MilitaryReview_20130430_art009SPA.pdf (accessed May 12, 2021).
  13. Ibid.

SHARE

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

The ideas contained in this analysis are the sole responsibility of the author, without necessarily reflecting the thoughts of the CEEEP or the Peruvian Army.

Image: Wikipedia Commons, edited by CEEEP