Course Overview

This joint seminar elaborates upon classical organizational concepts and methods to better understand modern military organizations and to develop new theory. It reviews organizational theory of the 1950s and 1960s and examines its applicability to the modern military. Among the topics covered are: recruitment, socialization and retention of personnel, unit cohesion, the effect of stress on performance, innovation and experiments, civil-military relations, the function of traditions, professionalism, federal-state relations, interservice relations, and the civilianization of the military.

Course Requirements

Grading will be based half on class participation including student reports and half on a paper of 30-40 pages on a topic relevant for the course. The paper must be documented. Appropriate topics include: organizational learning; comparisons of military and police organizations; effects of new technology on military organizations, differences among US armed services and branches within services; the role of strong professions within the military, e.g. medicine, law, the ministry; minorities and the military; and organizational adjustment to defeat. Topics must be pre-approved by instructor and students must make a class presentation before submission.


1 Organizational Theory / Research
2 Recruitment, Socialization and Hierarchy
3 Men Against Fire / Cohesion + Disintegration
4 Friendly Fire / Organizational Failure
5 Information Processing / Organization Learning
6 Organizational Evolution / Adjusting to the Environment
7 Military Innovation / Alternative Theories
8 Influencing Organizations / The Limits of Outside Advice
9 Organizational Rigidity / Organizational Change
10 Organizational Design
11-12 Student Papers