Applied Problem Solving in the Workplace Reflective Report

Executive Summary

This report presents a reflection on the topic about problem solving within work place. The focus of this report will be on understanding complex problem of military sexual assault and demonstrate the best way such problem can be solved. A problem refers to an unwelcoming situation or issue that need to be dealt with and overcome. Every workplace is characterized by different problems requiring different degrees of attention. Indeed, problems are common experiences of individuals within a workplace. Some of the problems experienced by individuals in a workplace are big and complicated while others are simple problems that are easy to solve. Sexual assault in the military presents a complex problem within the military service. About 20,000 active duty service members were reported to have experienced unwanted sexual contact in the year 2014. The male dominated leadership structure of the military induces power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts thereby serving to catalyze sexual misconduct in the military. The problem of sexual assault in military is highly recognized by both external and internal stakeholders as a complex problem that needs to be dealt with and overcome. For instance, external stakeholders such as the Military Policing agencies recognize this problem as an issue of paramount concern within the military and advocates for victim centric responses. Indeed, by developing programs and resources focused on strategic response to prevention of sexual assault in the military, external stakeholders such as experts and advisers to the military demonstrate that they have recognized the issue of sexual assault in the military as a complex problem and thus emphasizes on Mentors in Violence Prevention, Peer Education, Bystander Intervention and Socialisation as ways of dealing with and overcoming the problem. Solutions to the problem of sexual assault in the military were generated using morphological analysis technique. From this solution generating technique, three solutions were generated and recommended as applicable to addressing the problem. These include changing military culture and leadership, changing the legal environment of the military and restructuring the reporting structure of the military. The use of morphological analysis generated significant insight into the problem of sexual assault in the military as it enabled me to explore all the possible solutions to the problem. For instance, it gave me a deeper insight into the root causes of sexual assault in the military. I noted that the problem of sexual assault in military is underpinned by different internal and external factors that constitute the root causes.  However, I realized that these root causes have convergent points in the culture of the military. Indeed, I understood that of all the root causes, military culture is the greatest player in the development of sexual assault in the military. Consequently, the insight generated influenced my solution path to consider changing the military culture as the most effective solution to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

Introduction

A problem refers to an unwelcoming situation or issue that need to be dealt with and overcome. Every workplace is characterized by different problems requiring different degrees of attention. Indeed, problems are common experiences of individuals within a workplace. Some of the problems experienced by individuals in a workplace are big and complicated while others are simple problems that are easy to solve (Castro et al. 2015). According to Castro et al (2015), workplace settings can never have shortage of challenges and issues. Indeed, experiencing difficulties with co-workers or tasks at hand are common experiences that characterize a workplace setting regardless of the site of work. As a result, there are continuous challenges in the workplace on daily basis. It is key to point out that problems in workplace should be dealt with fairly and constructively regardless of whether they are simple problems or complex problems. Notably, dealing with a problem requires certain skills necessary to identify effective solutions to the problem. Problem solving skills are, therefore, important employee skills that are highly valued by employers (Carnevale and Smith 2013). Problem solving skills refers to the ability of an individual to effectively solve a problem using the available facts, data and personal knowledge. Problem solving skills are based on the ability of an individual to think critically, assess the problem, and arrive at constructive and fair solutions. It is therefore imperative for employees to be able to develop a well thought out, constructive and fair solutions to workplace problems within a reasonable time frame. As a matter of fact, employers prefer employees with ability to not only develop a well thought out, constructive and fair solutions to problems but also capable of working through problems as active members of a team. According to Carnevale and Smith (2013), employees with the ability to creatively and critically think out solutions to problems and make decisions based on sound judgment are, indeed, valuable assets to an organization. This report presents a reflection on the topic about problem solving within work place. The focus of this report will be on understanding complex problem of military sexual assault and demonstrate the best way such problem can be solved.

Problem Structuring

As noted above, a problem refers to an unwelcoming situation or issue that need to be dealt with and overcome. According to Frensch and Funke (2014), a problem can be categorized as simple or complex depending on their presentation and the ease with which they can be dealt with and overcome. Simple problems are unwelcoming situations or issues that can easily be dealt with and overcome by following simple logical procedures. For instance, baking a cake from a mix is a simple problem whose solution lies in following the recipe. On the other hand, complex problems refer to unwelcoming situations or issues that are complicated in nature and whose solution cannot be obtained by following simple logical procedures rather by abstract reasoning (Frensch and Funke 2014). Complex problems are, therefore matters or issues that require application of abstract reasoning to deal with and overcome while considering multiple frames of references.

Sexual assault in the military presents a complex problem within the military service. According to Castro et al (2015), about 20,000 active duty service members were reported to have experienced unwanted sexual contact in the year 2014. Indeed, the complexity of the problem is augmented by the fact that the military service is characterized by sexual assaults even in combat environments. As noted by Castro et al (2015), the rate of sexual assaults attributed to military service is estimated to range between 1-12 percent among military men and for women in service the range is estimated to be between 9.5- 43 percent. According to a recent survey conducted among military service men and women, about 5.9 percent of the active duty officers reported being sexually assaulted among whom women represent 4.9 percent and men 1.0 percent (Morral, Gore and Schell, 2015). The stakeholders linked to this problem are the active duty officers including service men and women, military management and leadership; lawmakers; Military Policing agencies; experts and advisers to the military; Alcohol and Drug educators as well as the general public. The active duty officers are stakeholders linked to the problem as perpetrators or victims of sexual assault whereas the lawmakers are linked to the problem by virtue of their responsibility to formulate stringent laws to mitigate against the problem. On the other hand, the general public is a stakeholder linked to the problem by virtue of being the custodian of societal and cultural values that infiltrate the military service when individuals are recruited into the military thereby influencing the military factors that promote the occurrence of the problem (Castro et al. 2015). Indeed, the complexity of the problem is underpinned by certain military factors that are influenced by societal and cultural values that significantly influence the occurrence of the problem. For instance, military is characterized by a patriarchal structure that operates on values such as rank, camaraderie, formality, loyalty, leadership as well as emotional control. However, the cultural belief of masculinity is of central importance in military service augmented by the notion of dominance, risk-taking, self-sufficiency and aggression. Consequently, the key aspects of the problem of sexual assault in military include fostering hyper-masculinity in which masculine interactions are viewed under the lens of dominance, competition and control (Castro et al. 2015). Additionally, the male dominated leadership structure of the military induces power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts that serve to catalyze sexual misconduct. Moreover, the negative attitudes towards women coupled with traditional and hyper-masculine beliefs are aspects of that play a central role in the acceptance and perpetration of sexual assault in the military. Besides, the culture of homophobia that characterizes the military is another aspect of the problem that enhances the risk of sexual assault (Castro et al. 2015). Additionally, the military norm of motivating officers using sexualized and gendered language and other military slang significantly contribute to sexual objectification of female officers which subsequently exacerbate the problem. Another key aspect of the problem is grounded in historical and religious influence on the minds of the military offices. For instance, it is a historical precedence that after warfare women were often regarded as rewards for victorious battalion during which they provide sexual entertainment to men. Indeed Bell, Turchik and Karpenko (2014) note that the US military personnel have in the past been offered sex workers as a token of friendship by some countries. The tradition of the military to accept violence as a means of achieving goals and the viewing of power by the military as ability to kill and rape collectively create a conducive environment for the perpetration of sexual assault in the military (Bell, Turchik and Karpenko, 2014). Furthermore, the pervasive use of alcohol in the military increases the risk of sexual assault in the military context in a similar way as it does in the civilian context. According to the department of defense, military academy reported 58 percent of sexual assault cases while the naval academy reported 57 percent of such cases. Of all the cases of sexual assault reported in 2013, for instance, 50 percent of those committed within the military involved alcohol. Such cases occurred when both the victim and the perpetrator or either of them have consumed alcohol.

  • Problem Statement

Sexual assault in the military presents a complex problem within the military service. According to Castro et al (2015), about 20,000 active duty service members were reported to have experienced unwanted sexual contact in the year 2014. Sadly, sexual assault in the military destroys the much needed trust among comrades thereby detracting their readiness to perform their duty.

Boundary Setting

The relevance of the problem boundary was identified using the Cause and Effect diagram as shown in figure 1 below.

 

 

 

Figure 1: The problem boundary was identified using the Cause and Effect diagram

Source: Self generated

 

 

The boundary of sexual assault in military was found to extend to both internal and external contexts. Some of the internal contexts include the negative attitudes towards women officers and the traditional hyper-masculine beliefs in the military. These internal contexts induce acceptance and perpetration of sexual assault in the military as individuals who fall victims of the vice find it difficult to report the incidences for mitigating actions. Another root cause of the problem lies in the culture of homophobia that characterizes the military (Castro et al. 2015). Additionally, the hyper-masculine perspective that characterizes the military potentially induces a sense of entitlement to regular sex in male military officers. This sense of entitlement to regular sex underpins the link between rape-related attitudes and masculinity thus promotes the occurrence of the problem. Furthermore, the military’s emphasis on objectification is another internal context relevant to the problem of sexual assault in the military. Indeed, men and women in the military are groomed to be good killers by limiting their empathy through training them to objectify other humans. However, this objectification potentially contributes to the sense of entitlement when applied to fellow service members thereby making sexual assault easier to perpetrate (Castro et al. 2015). Moreover, as noted above, the pervasive use of alcohol in the military increases the risk of sexual assault in the military context in a similar way as it does in the civilian context. This is evidenced by the data from the Department of Defense that reported that military academy had 58 percent of sexual assault cases while the naval academy had 57 percent of such cases. It’s not surprising to note that of all the cases of sexual assault reported in 2013, 50 percent of those committed within the military involved alcohol and all of them occurred when both the victim and the perpetrator or either of them has consumed alcohol (Morral, Gore and Schell, 2015). Moreover, the tradition of the military to accept violence as a means of achieving goals and the viewing of power by the military as ability to kill and rape collectively create a conducive environment for the perpetration of sexual assault in the military. Additionally, the perceived Bcode of silence in the military and the rigid chain of command promotes the perpetration of the problem by hindering victims from reporting incidences of sexual assault due to fear of negative repercussions. This is evidenced by the data reported by the Department of Defense in which 62 percent of female soldiers experienced sexual assault retaliations in 2014. Of these victims, 53 percent reported social retaliation, 35 percent reported administrative action, and 32 percent reported professional retaliation while 11 percent reported receiving a punishment for reporting cases of sexual assault (Morral, Gore and Schell, 2015). On the other hand, the external contexts relevant to the problem include historical and religious influence on the minds of the military offices. As noted above, it is a historical precedence that after warfare women were often regarded as rewards for victorious battalion. Such women were normally used provide sexual entertainment to men. For instance, the US military personnel have in the past been offered sex workers as a token of friendship by some countries. This makes the act of sexual exploitation to receive acceptance among soldiers thus promoting the problem (Archer, 2013). Notably, the use of Cause and Effect diagram to identify the problem boundary of sexual assault in military presented some advantages and limitations. Some of the advantages derived from the use of this model include allowing thoughtful analysis of the root causes of sexual assault in the military without omitting any possible root causes of the problem (Freivalds and Niebel, 2013). Also, the model enables the creation of an easy to understand visual representation of the categories of root causes of the problem besides enabling the development of the big picture of the potential factors influencing the occurrence of the problem. Additionally, the model helps to identify areas of weakness of strategies employed to address the problem thereby allowing redress before before causing more sustained difficulties. However, the model used, the Cause and Effect diagram, also presented some limitation during the identification of the problem boundary of sexual assault in military (Freivalds and Niebel, 2013). Such limitations included its simplicity that makes it difficult to represent the true picture of how the root causes of the problem are interrelated as well as the need for extremely large space for drawing the diagram that limited my ability to explore all the details about the root causes of the problem diagrammatically. The cause and effect diagram model was applied through joint brainstorming to identify potential causes of sexual assault in the military before sorting ideas into different categories. Notably, using the model presented some negative and positive effects. For instance, some of the positive effects of using this model is that brainstorming allowed broad-ranging thinking that steered my team away from ‘in a rut’ thinking pattern. On the other hand, the negative effects of using this model is that brainstorming produced both relevant and irrelevant potential causes of the problem thereby draining energy and time. My perspective on the nature of the problem boundary is that the problem is caused majorly by internal factors including the patriarchal structure of the military that is characterized by such values as rank, camaraderie, formality, loyalty, leadership as well as emotional control. This structure is grounded on a solid base of cultural belief that cherishes masculinity as a central tenet in military service and flavored by the notion of dominance, risk-taking, self-sufficiency and aggression. As noted above, the male dominated leadership structure of the military induces power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts thereby serving to catalyze sexual misconduct in the military.

Recognition

The problem of sexual assault in military is highly recognized by both external and internal stakeholders as a complex problem that needs to be dealt with and overcome (Schenck, 2013). For instance, external stakeholders such as the Military Policing agencies recognize this problem as an issue of paramount concern within the military and advocates for victim centric responses. Indeed, by developing programs and resources focused on strategic response to prevention of sexual assault in the military, external stakeholders such as experts and advisers to the military demonstrate that they have recognized the issue of sexual assault in the military as a complex problem and thus emphasizes on Mentors in Violence Prevention, Peer Education, Bystander Intervention and Socialisation as ways of dealing with and overcoming the problem. As noted earlier, alcohol plays a central role in the perpetuation of non-stranger sexual assaults within military environments globally, as a result, alcohol and drug educators are another group of external stakeholders who have recognized the problem and are working alongside sexual assault risk reduction education. Similarly, lawmakers are also external stakeholders who have recognized the problem of sexual assault in military and have proposed certain initiatives to address the problem. For instance, in recognizing sexual assault as a problem in the military, the lawmakers have legislated on policies focused on ensuring successful conviction of perpetrators. Similarly, the problem has been well recognized by internal stakeholders in the military including the management and the military leadership. For instance, the Department of Defense recognizes the problem of sexual assault in the military as destructive to a unit’s cohesion and a threat to its readiness for action as it erodes the bond of trust among the soldiers. Indeed, the Department of Defense demonstrate their recognition of the problem through their numerous initiatives focused on preventing and responding affirmatively to incidences of sexual assault in the military (Morral, Gore and Schell, 2015). The Department of Defense recognizes the problem and its unique role in improving support, holding offenders accountable so as to reduce the occurrence of sexual assault in the military. Moreover, the military leadership is another key internal stakeholder that recognizes the problem of sexual assault in the military. This is demonstrated by their resolve to prevent sexual assault in the military through a Strategic Direction to the Joint Force dated May 2012. The Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in full recognition of the problem not only developed but also executed a complain focused on sexual assault prevention designed to identify evidence-based practices that can be employed to prevent sexual assault in the military (Mengeling et al. 2016). Finally, men and women in active military service are the most affected stakeholders by the problem of sexual assault in military. As victims of the problem, this group of internal stakeholders recognizes sexual assault as a major problem in the military as demonstrated by the reported cases discussed above.

However, the perspective of military management and leadership on the problem of sexual assault in the military is skewed towards promoting the vice by discouraging reports about such incidences. For instance, the military management and leadership perspective is that the Bcode of silence in the military and the rigid chain of command must be observed and adhered to at all times (Mengeling et al. 2014). This perspective promotes the perpetration of the problem by hindering victims from reporting incidences of sexual assault due to fear of negative repercussions. Besides, the perspective of military management that hyper-masculinity in which masculine interactions are viewed under the lens of dominance, competition and control is central to the military service induces a male dominated leadership structure in the military that leads to power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts thereby serving to catalyze sexual misconduct (Archer, 2013). Therefore, the decision making process by management about cases of sexual assault in the military are ethically biased as the victims who report such cases are subjected to retaliation and retributions that are ethically wrong. Although there a general consensus on the existence of the problem of sexual assault in military among all stakeholders, there exist a great deal of conflict in the views of external stakeholders and internal stakeholders. For instance, whereas external stake holders such the Department of Defense, Military Policing agencies and lawmakers are of the view that the occurrence of such incidences should be prevented and the victims should report the incidences for deterrence actions, internal stakeholders such as military leadership is of the view that such incidences are characteristic of military service and make every effort to prevent the victims from reporting incidences of sexual assault in the military (Mengeling et al. 2014).

Interactions

Brainstorming is an effective tool for building interactions among group members with the focus on generating ideas in group settings. The two tools applied in this study were the classic brainstorming and the round-robin brainstorming. The classic brainstorming involves calling out of ideas by group members as they come while the ideas are recorded publicly by a scribe on a flipchart. This method is characterized by too much talking as several people are speaking at the same time (Rawlinson, 2017). Consequently, classic brainstorming method does not grant all participants with equal chances to speak thereby limiting the discussion to more dominant individuals and their ideas. In contrast, Round-Robin Brainstorming involves more organized meetings in which all participants have equal chances to present their ideas. It is a structured creativity method in which every participant participates in stimulating each other in creative solutions and letting creative lateral ideas (Hunton and Gold, 2013). Whereas classic brainstorming is open and free and as such potential and good ideas may be missed due to domination of the tone of the entire meeting by certain individuals, the Round-Robin Brainstorming provides equal opportunity to all participants to generate ideas without dominance by some team members. In this method, ideas generated from team members are used by other team members to generate more ideas. Notably, the Round-Robin Brainstorming is characterized by some conditions including maintaining silence to avoid detraction of individuals presenting their ideas, prior notification about well defined problem to brainstorm about as well as clearly defined time limits for each participant to present his or her ideas (Hunton and Gold, 2013). I applied Brainstorming to generate ideas about the possible causes of sexual assault in the military and their potential solutions by selecting participants from the military setting; 5 men and 5 women in active military service. I then posted a clear question to the group asking them to identify potential causes of sexual assault in the military and their potential solution. During the brainstorming session, the group members were asked to generate ideas and solutions without criticism while I took note of their ideas. The ideas were then discussed, critiqued and prioritized by the group members and the once that were judged as most applicable to the problem were considered.  The importance of stakeholders to the success of my study cannot be understated. Different stakeholders played different roles in facilitating my study especially with regard to consultations focused on developing holistic understanding of the problem. Figure 2 below is a stakeholder mapping diagram that represents different stakeholders and their roles in solving the problem of sexual assault in the military.

Figure 2 below is a stakeholder mapping diagram

Source; Self-generated

The above diagram represents some significant stakeholders that bear the greatest responsibility in the implementation of my proposed solution to the problem. For instance, Department of Defence management is important in the implementation process of the solution because it plays a critical role in organization planning and policy making. Indeed, the DoD management is an important stakeholder in the implementation plan of the solution as it is directly responsible for managing and overseeing programs designed to prevent and respond to sexual assault in the military (Mengeling et al. 2014). Similarly, military leadership another important stakeholder in the implementation plan of the solution because it plays a central role in developing the organization culture within the military as an organization as well as organizing education and training programs focused on addressing the problem among active officers in the military service. Additionally, victim protection and advocacy agency is another important stakeholder in the implementation plan since this stakeholder is directly involved in offering support to victims of sexual assault in the military to enable them report such incidences and have them problem addressed through legal advocacy, protecting their privacy and safety while fighting retaliation (Mengeling et al. 2014). The military justice personnel equally play a significant role in the implementation plan. Indeed, their importance is underpinned by their role in preventing the perpetration of the vice by initiating judicial processes including investigating incidences of sexual assault in the military and disposing of reported cases accordingly. This induces deterrence value in potential perpetrators.  The constraint likely to impact stakeholder consensus include command climate and commander accountability. As noted earlier, military leadership considers  the Bcode of silence in the military and the rigid chain of command as central to the organization and must be observed and adhered to at all times. This perspective would hinder a consensus with other stakeholders seeking to encourage reporting of cases of sexual assault in the military as they discourage victims from reporting such incidences due to fear of negative repercussions. However, stakeholder interactions within decision making environment can be improved by using brainstorming method to generate ideas from all stakeholders and have all stakeholders critique and evaluate the ideas presented before considering the most appropriate judgment for a decision. Brainstorming method was used as an action plan to create an environment for interaction. This action plan involved a series of steps including selecting a group of participants,  posting a clear question, generating solutions from group members and critiquing the generated solutions and prioritizing the results to obtain the best. In this action plan, the first step involved selecting a group that would participate in the study. A clear and concise question about the root causes of sexual assault in the military was then posted to the group members and the members allowed to generate ideas without criticism and limitations. The final step involved discussing and critiquing the ideas generated by members and prioritizing those ideas and considering those judged as most applicable to the problem. During this process, I noted that the technique worked so well and many ideas were generated that are applicable to the problem. However, members did not have equal opportunities to present their ideas since some members dominated the show. This can be improved in future by employing the Round-Robin Brainstorming to ensure everyone has equal chances of generating ideas.

Solutions

Solutions to the problem of sexual assault in the military were generated using morphological analysis technique, see figure 3 below (Seidenstricker and Linder 2014). From this solution generating technique, three solutions were generated including changing military culture and leadership, changing the legal environment of the military and restructuring the reporting structure of the military.

Figure 3: Sexual assault in the military

Root cause Prevention strategy 1 Prevention strategy 2 Prevention strategy 3 Prevention strategy 4
Gender stereotypes DoD to Hold military leaders accountable Increase Support for survivors of sexual assault Restructure military reporting systems Ensure prosecution of perpetrators
Historical and Religious Influence Monitor leaders’ response to incidences Develop Sexual assault prevention psycho-education and skill training modalities Fight gender stereotype in the military Making reporting incidences a right of the victim
Cultural Acceptance Discipline commanders challenging claims before investigations are complete Support efforts to change the military culture Change the unit culture and environment of gender stereotype Modify laws and regulations
Complex reporting structure Discourage retaliation     Changing the masculine  ideals of the military
         

 

Source: Self- generated

From the analysis above, each root cause of the problem has been matched with the most applicable prevention strategy using similar colour code. The combining the matching strategies lead to the formulation of three solutions to the problem of sexual assault in military. For instance, by combining the prevention strategy of changing the masculine ideals of the military with the strategy of changing the unit culture and environment of gender stereotype and developing sexual assault prevention psycho-education and skill training modalities I arrive at a solution summed up as changing the military culture and leadership. Notably, the military culture is characterized by masculine ideals that foster hyper-masculinity in which masculine interactions are viewed under the lens of dominance, competition and control (Archer, 2013). As noted earlier, the male dominated leadership structure of the military induces power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts that serve to catalyze sexual misconduct. Besides, the negative attitudes towards women coupled with traditional and hyper-masculine beliefs are aspects of that play a central role in the acceptance and perpetration of sexual assault in the military. Therefore, by changing the current culture of the military, this strategy will work to reduce gender stereotype thereby restoring respect and dignity among soldiers leading to reduced incidences of sexual assault in the military. The second solution was obtained by combining the most applicable strategies that can be used to address the root cause of cultural acceptance of sexual assault in the military. By combining such prevention strategies as discouraging retaliation, increasing support for survivors of sexual assault and modifying laws and regulation, I generated changing the legal environment of the military as an applicable solution to cultural acceptance as a root cause of the problem. This solution is grounded on the fact that the military leadership considers  the Bcode of silence in the military and the rigid chain of command as central to the organization and must be observed and adhered to at all times. As a result, victims of sexual assault in the military opt to accept the culture of objectification and sexual assault in silence as part of their obligation to observe the Bcode of silence. Therefore, if the legal environment of the military setting is modified to promote freedom of speech among soldiers, “the law of silence” on such matters would never be a hindrance towards reporting such cases. The third solution applicable to this problem was generated by combining the preventive strategy of making reporting of sexual assault a victim’s right, restructuring the military reporting system and taking disciplinary actions against commanders challenging claims of sexual assault before investigations are complete. By combining these strategies, I generated a solution referred to as restructuring the reporting system of the military. Notably, the military reporting system is not only complicated but also fraught with numerous barriers and uncertainties. Indeed, it is practically impossible for a victim of sexual assault in the military to file a report of the incidence and remain confidential. For instance, a victim may file a restricted report that tend to hold the incidence confidential but this confidentiality is eroded the moment the victim seeks medical and other supportive services from colleagues as this will involve the military chain of command. On the other hand, the victim would still be exposed should he or she file an unrestricted report since this would require detailed notification of the unit leadership and the law enforcement officers about the incidence. The use of morphological analysis generated significant insight into the problem of sexual assault in the military as it enabled me to explore all the possible solutions to the problem. For instance, it gave me a deeper insight into the root causes of sexual assault in the military. I noted that the problem of sexual assault in military is underpinned by different internal and external factors that constitute the root causes.  However, I realized that these root causes have convergent points in the culture of the military. Indeed, I understood that of all the root causes, military culture is the greatest player in the development of sexual assault in the military. Consequently, the insight generated influenced my solution path to consider changing the military culture as the most effective solution to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

  • Learning Organisations

The learning organization played a critical role in my search for a solution to the problem of sexual assault in the military (Coghlan and Brannick, 2014). For instance, the management of the learning organization designed a suitable construct that enable that facilitated knowledge through sharing of information and experience. This way, the management played a critical role of developing structures that supported knowledge synthesis and evaluation of ideas (Coghlan and Brannick, 2014). The organization, through the manager, also promoted my search for the solution by organizing trainings that helped develop my ability to work in as a group, create and transfer knowledge as well as share knowledge and experiences with others thereby enabling me to undertake the search process through brainstorming technique. Through such trainings, I learned to understand problems and the various methods of solving different problems. These influenced me to me to choose brainstorming as the most appropriate method of searching for a solution to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

  • Consideration of Staff Welfare

The welfare of the staff was taken into consideration by protecting their privacy and confidentiality during the research process. Indeed, appropriate measures were taken to protect staff participants from breach of confidentiality, coercion, invasion of privacy and undue influence. The staff participants gave their informed consent to participate.

Evaluations

As noted above, the search for solution for sexual assault in the military was conducted using the Morphological Analysis technique. This technique involves breaking-down of a problem into its essential parameters and placing the parameters in a multi-dimensional matrix (Seidenstricker and Linder 2014). The matrix is then searched for new ideas to generate creative and useful combinations some of which may be inappropriate while others represent prospective new ideas (Seidenstricker and Linder 2014). To narrow down to the three preferred solution, the technique was employed as follows. Suitable problem parameters were determined through brainstorming and all suggestions were made visible to all group members. The parameters were then grouped in a way that every member was satisfied with the groupings. Thereafter, the groups were labelled and reduced to manageable number through consensus among the group members. The next step involved filling grids with lists of the parameters. This was done by arranging the parameters along the axes. This enabled me to identify combinations within the grid generating several combinations. The final step was to eliminate the combinations that were considered inappropriate to the problem and the rest of the combinations that were considered applicable to the problem were developed into preferred solutions.

As noted above, the preferred solutions include changing military culture and leadership, changing the legal environment of the military and restructuring the reporting structure of the military. Each of these solutions can be evaluated using advantages and disadvantages method, Plus/Minus/Interesting method as well as sticking dots method (Cotton, 2016). Changing the military culture and leadership as a solution to sexual assault in the military can be evaluated using advantages and disadvantages method. For instance, one of the advantages of changing the culture in the military will reduce gender stereotype thereby restoring respect and dignity among soldiers leading to reduced incidences of sexual assault in the military. This will foster trust among soldiers and enhance their operational efficiency. However, there are some disadvantages associated with this solution. For instance, it would take a long time to develop a new culture in the military hence it would not provide an immediate remedy to the problem. Also, the implementation of this solution would require the input from several stakeholders and as such may potentially fail due to lack of good will and resistance to change by the military officers and leadership. Additionally, this solution can be evaluated using Plus/Minus/Interesting method. This method of evaluation involves brainstorming to evaluate ideas from more than one perspective (Cotton, 2016). The plus points of this solution include reducing power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts and restoring respect and dignity among soldiers. The minus point of this solution is that its implementation can be constrained by lack of goodwill among the different stakeholders. The interesting point of the situation is that the aggression and use of force and violence are elements of masculinity that cannot be changed in the military culture. Similarly, the solution can be evaluated using sticking dots method. This method of evaluation involves determining priorities by voting (Cotton, 2016). The three sets of solution are subjected to voting by members of the group using dots to determine their order of priority. Changing the military culture and leadership attained the highest number of dots and was therefore considered the most applicable solution to the problem. Similarly, changing the legal environment of the military as a solution to sexual assault in the military can be evaluated using advantages and disadvantages method. For instance, this solution has an advantage of promoting a free environment where victims of sexual assault in the military can report incidences of sexual assault without fear of retribution. Also, it will ensure that the victims are protected from retaliation thus supporting such victims to speak against the problem. However, the solution has a disadvantage in that cases filed by the victims will requires the input of the military chain of command to investigate and as such the solution faces a potential constraint from lack of full support from the military chain of command. Additionally, this solution can be evaluated using the Plus/Minus/Interesting method (Cotton, 2016). Using this method, this solution has a plus point in of promoting a free environment where victims of sexual assault in the military can report incidences of sexual assault without fear of retribution. However, its minus point is that faces a potential constraint from lack of full support from the military chain of command. On the other hand, the interesting point of this solution is that strict adherence to the chain of command is central to the military unit and cannot be violated to attain some level of freedom. Moreover, this solution was also be evaluated using the sticking dot method whereby it attained the second-highest number of dots and was therefore considered the second-most applicable solution to the problem. Restructuring the reporting structure of the military was another preferred solution that was evaluated using the above-three methods of evaluation. It was found that this solution has an advantage of ensuring that all incidences are reported without restrictions, barriers or uncertainties. This will enable victims of sexual assault in the military to report such cases for deterrence actions. However, the implementation of this solution would require the input from several stakeholders and as such may potentially fail due to lack of good will and resistance to change by the military officers and leadership. When evaluated using the Plus/Minus/Interesting method (Cotton, 2016), this solution has a plus point in enabling victims of sexual assault in the military to report such cases with ease. However, it has a minus point in the eminent impediments to its implementation due to the possible lack of good will from all stakeholders and resistance to change by the military officers and leadership. The interesting point about this solution is the strict adherence to the chain of command in the military as an organization that cannot be restructured for any reason. Finally, the solution was evaluated using the sticking dot method where it attained the least number of dots and was considered the least applicable solution to the problem of sexual assault in military.The table below shows a summary of the evaluation of each of the preferred solutions.

Solution Advantage Disadvantage Plus point Minus point Interesting point Sticking dots
Changing the military culture and leadership reduce gender stereotype thereby restoring respect and dignity among soldiers The implementation of  potentially fail due to lack of good will and resistance to change by the military officers and leadership reducing power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts The implementation of  potentially fail due to lack of good will and resistance to change by the military officers and leadership aggression and use of force and violence are elements of masculinity that cannot be changed in the military culture 5 Dots
Changing the legal environment of the military advantage of promoting a free environment where victims of sexual assault in the military can report incidences of sexual assault without fear of retribution Implementation faces potential constraint from lack of full support from the military chain of command promote a free environment where victims of sexual assault in the military can report incidences of sexual assault Implementation faces potential constraint from lack of full support from the military chain of command adherence to the chain of command is central to the military unit and cannot be violated 3 Dots
Restructuring the reporting structure of the military Promote reporting of incidences of sexual assault in the military require the input from several stakeholders and as such may potentially fail due to lack of good will promote a free environment where victims of sexual assault in the military can report incidences of sexual assault require the input from several stakeholders and as such may potentially fail due to lack of good will strict adherence to the chain of command in the military as an organization that cannot be restructured for any reason 2 Dots

Source: self-generated

Work Breakdown Structure

The key steps for conducting an effective evaluation involves planning, implementation, analysis and reporting, as well as action and improvement. Planning involves developing an evaluation plan detailing the purpose and scope of the evaluation as well as its budget. The implementation phase involves collecting data and managing the evaluation while the analysis and reporting phase involves analyzing data and communicating findings. The final step is action and improvement that involves applying findings and giving feedback for improvements. See appendix 1 for the work breakdown structure of the project.

Conclusion

Sexual assault in the military presents a complex problem within the military service. About 20,000 active duty service members were reported to have experienced unwanted sexual contact in the year 2014. Brainstorming model was employed to generate ideas about the possible causes of sexual assault in the military and their potential solutions. The complexity of the problem is underpinned by certain military factors that are influenced by societal and cultural values that significantly influence the occurrence of the problem. For instance, military is characterized by a patriarchal structure that operates on values such as rank, camaraderie, formality, loyalty, leadership as well as emotional control. However, the cultural belief of masculinity is of central importance in military service augmented by the notion of dominance, risk-taking, self-sufficiency and aggression. The cause and effect diagram was used to identify boundary of sexual assault in military as involving both internal and external contexts. Some of the internal contexts include the negative attitudes towards women officers and the traditional hyper-masculine beliefs in the military. The cause and effect diagram model was applied through joint brainstorming to identify potential causes of sexual assault in the military before sorting ideas into different categories. Notably, using the model presented some negative and positive effects. For instance, some of the positive effects of using this model is that brainstorming allowed broad-ranging thinking that steered my team away from ‘in a rut’ thinking pattern. On the other hand, the negative effects of using this model is that brainstorming produced both relevant and irrelevant potential causes of the problem thereby draining energy and time. My perspective on the nature of the problem boundary is that the problem is caused majorly by internal factors including the patriarchal structure of the military that is characterized by such values as rank, camaraderie, formality, loyalty, leadership as well as emotional control. This structure is grounded on a solid base of cultural belief that cherishes masculinity as a central tenet in military service and flavored by the notion of dominance, risk-taking, self-sufficiency and aggression. As noted above, the male dominated leadership structure of the military induces power differentials between female military officers and the male counterparts thereby serving to catalyze sexual misconduct in the military. The problem of sexual assault in military is highly recognized by both external and internal stakeholders as a complex problem that needs to be dealt with and overcome. For instance, external stakeholders such as the Military Policing agencies recognize this problem as an issue of paramount concern within the military and advocates for victim centric responses. Indeed, by developing programs and resources focused on strategic response to prevention of sexual assault in the military, external stakeholders such as experts and advisers to the military demonstrate that they have recognized the issue of sexual assault in the military as a complex problem and thus emphasizes on Mentors in Violence Prevention, Peer Education, Bystander Intervention and Socialisation as ways of dealing with and overcoming the problem. Solutions to the problem of sexual assault in the military were generated using morphological analysis technique. From this solution generating technique, three solutions were generated and recommended as applicable to addressing the problem. These include changing military culture and leadership, changing the legal environment of the military and restructuring the reporting structure of the military. The use of morphological analysis generated significant insight into the problem of sexual assault in the military as it enabled me to explore all the possible solutions to the problem. For instance, it gave me a deeper insight into the root causes of sexual assault in the military. I noted that the problem of sexual assault in military is underpinned by different internal and external factors that constitute the root causes.  However, I realized that these root causes have convergent points in the culture of the military. Indeed, I understood that of all the root causes, military culture is the greatest player in the development of sexual assault in the military. Consequently, the insight generated influenced my solution path to consider changing the military culture as the most effective solution to the problem of sexual assault in the military.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference List

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Bell, M.E., Turchik, J.A. and Karpenko, J.A., 2014. Impact of gender on reactions to military sexual assault and harassment. Health & social work39(1), pp.25-33.

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Castro, C.A., Kintzle, S., Schuyler, A.C., Lucas, C.L. and Warner, C.H., 2015. Sexual assault in the military. Current psychiatry reports17(7), p.54.

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Schenck, L.M., 2013. Informing the debate about sexual assault in the military services: Is the Department of Defense its own worst enemy. Ohio St. J. Crim. L.11, p.579.

Seidenstricker, S. and Linder, C., 2014. A morphological analysis-based creativity approach to identify and develop ideas for BMI: A case study of a high-tech manufacturing company. International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management18(5-6), pp.409-424.

 

 

 

 

Appendixes

Appendix 1: work breakdown structure of the project

Level WBS Code Element name
1 1 Prevention of sexual assault in the military
2 1.1 Brainstorming
3 1.1.2 Initiation
2 1.2 Planning  and getting participants
3 1.2.1 Posting a question on the problem
3 1.2.2 Discussion and critique of ideas
2 1.3 Prioritization of ideas
3 1.3.1 Considering most applicable idea.

 

Source: self-generated

ACED ESSAYS