Organizational Cynicism at the United States Naval Academy: An Exploratory Study

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by Vista123, Jul 26, 2012.

  1. Vista123

    Vista123 5-Year Member

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    There is an ebook published titled: Organizational Cynicism at the United States Naval Academy: An Exploratory Study.

    The book description reads: Organizational cynicism is an attitude, characterized by frustration and negatively valenced beliefs, resulting primarily from unmet expectations, which is capable of being directed towards an organization in general and/or more specific facets of the organizational environment. This thesis presents an exploratory study into the causes of organizational cynicism at the United States Naval Academy. The study is based on focus groups involving 30 first class midshipmen (i.e., seniors). Gaps in expectations versus students’ reality emerged as a cause of organizational cynicism. Themes such as (1) constraints on decision-making discretion, (2) disappointment in peers’ actions, (3) organizational inconsistencies, and (4) emphasis on outside interests versus midshipmen’s interests emerged as the strongest precursors to the development of cynicism. The effects of organizational cynicism were reported as (1) lack of organizational commitment and citizenship and (2) deficiencies in decision-making and risk taking skills.

    My questions:
    1.) would you assume this is consistent with all Service academies or is USNA different?
    2.) is this just the writer's view or something observed by current or recently graduated midshipmen?
     
  2. usna1985

    usna1985 10-Year Member

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    I would want to know a lot more about the "study" before commenting.

    For example: Who conducted it? What is their background? What was the purpose? What timeframe did it cover? What questions were asked? How was it conducted (interviews, questionnaire)? How were the mids chosen? Were individuals other than mids involved?

    Reading it would probably help.:rolleyes:
     
  3. Vista123

    Vista123 5-Year Member

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    full text

    http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a424585.pdf
     
  4. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator 5-Year Member

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    It sounds like a study whose results could be applied to any organization. What organization meets the expectations of all of its members? What organization hass members that meet the expectations of all its members? Etc, etc.

    And is 30 Firsties out of about 1000 statistically significant?
     
  5. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    The document shows it was written in 2004. Not sure how useful that informaiton would be since practices do tend to change over time. I also would ask the same questions as above about the exact methodology and whether statistically valid samples were used.
     
  6. Hurricane12

    Hurricane12 USNA 2012 5-Year Member

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    To be precise: it's not a book, it's a NPS (Naval Postgraduate School) master's thesis. I've never been impressed that much by some of the theses I've read from NPS, but then again my master's degree is in nothing from nowhere, so that's all I'll say about that.

    The reasons cited for cynicism are not just applicable to USNA. I've heard similar sentiments from USMA/USAFA/USCGA cadets, grads out in the fleet, enlisted Marines and Sailors, civilian friends in a wide range of jobs, etc. It's less of a "USNA thing" and more of a big institutions and organizations thing.

    I would be completely shocked if there's one mid/graduate out there who LOVED EVERYTHING about USNA. There are aspects of life at USNA or any service academy that suck and lead to cynicism but it's up to you to move past them and find ways to enjoy yourself and try to change things for the better where you can.

    Edited to add: I very quickly skimmed part of it and have to agree with a couple of the authors' (the main author is a '98 USNA grad, BTW) points:

    1: "Gaps in expectations" happen in any ostensibly selective group. The use of medical students as a civilian example is a pretty decent one, I think.

    2: THE COMPANY OFFICER THING. I would expand this to include SELs as well, but that's another story...My company officers ranged from absolutely terrible, to okay-but-probably-too-relaxed, to pretty solid. USNA usually does NOT get the top quality JOs to do company officer tours (note: this varies by community, and of course individual...there are some great company officers out there) because those guys are out doing different things. There's nothing really "wrong" with that per se (I'd rather have the best JO pilots in the fleet going off to instruct at the FRS than wasting their time at USNA, for example), but it's definitely a weird dynamic since these are the officers we are supposed to emulate and look up to. I've known company officers who fry mids for using the elevator when they themselves use it all the time, never come in to work, don't know anything about the mids in their company, micromanage or whatever else, and get away with it. How are mids supposed to figure out what to be like as officers when their closest examples don't walk the walk?
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2012
  7. time2

    time2 10-Year Member

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    Something done as part of a graduate thesis is probable more of an academic exercise then anything else, the recommendations may not have ever been implemented. In large companies in the private sector, such studied are usually conducted using internal or external resources. The output is typically used by top management to develop improvement strategies or to evaluate the performance of different departments.

    In the context of this forum, I really doubt you could use such information in any practical way to compare the various academies. It certainly isn't anything that would help someone now applying with regard to making the right decision of one academy vs. another.
     

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