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Organizational Behavior: Principles, Models and Theories

Organizational behavior analysis is very important in explaining how people interact and relate within a given social setting. In the modern society, both for profit and non-profit making organizations are under a great pressure to deliver quality service to ensure their sustainability. Failure to deliver the best services or product may render an organization irrelevant to the stakeholders that support it.

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According to Klein (2016), an organization can only deliver the best services or products if its stakeholders can have positive relationship and are able to coordinate very closely to ensure that it is successful. Communication is critical in such setting to facilitate coordination and sharing of ideas to achieve the expected outcome. Some entities prefer having a structured communication system where information or command flows from top to bottom and back using established ranks and back.

On the other hand, there are organizations, which are now embracing unstructured system of communication where the top managers try as much as possible to interact with junior employees to understand what affects them within the firm. The culture that is created within an organization defines how it operates and how emerging issues are tackled to achieve the desired result. In this paper, the researcher will conduct an analysis of organizational behavior at The United States Marine Corps.

The United States Marine Corps is one of the branches of the United States Armed Forces (Hutton, 2014). Founded in 1783, it plays a critical role in ensuring that America is safe from any external threat. It works closely and in a coordinated manner with other branches of the armed forces to achieve the strategic goals and objectives of the Department of Defense.

Type of Culture

According to Sharma and Shilpa (2013), when defining the type of organizational culture that an entity should embrace, it is important to understand the nature of the organization itself. The culture must be capable of facilitating activities carried out within the organization. The United States Marine Corps is a military organization that works with the sole purpose of neutralizing any threat to the security of the nation in any part of the world and ensuring that American citizens and their property are safe. Melting point is the culture that the organization has embraced in its operations because it is the most appropriate.

Klein (2016) defines melting point as a culture where people from diverse background and cultural practices are brought together and then their cultures are melted to form a single culture where people act in unison. In the armed forces, officers work under direct commands. The President of the United States of America is at the top of the military command. When an instruction comes from the commander to the next officer in command, it is often expected that the officer will receive the instruction and act upon it without questions. Whenever a junior officer questions a command, it is often considered an act of insubordination.

In such an environment where instructions and commands have to be followed strictly and without question, the organization cannot afford to have a situation where there are opposing ideas and arguments. The generals and the commander-in-chief may have a discussion in the boardroom to come up with the best way of dealing with a national threat, but once they make a decision and communicate it to the field commanders, then their instructions must be followed to the letter.

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Having varying opinions on an issue once a command has been made is not allowed in a military setting. Taking time to reach a consensus when in the battlefield may give enemies time to overrun a camp before a decision is made. As such, the culture here must be one that makes it easy for the high-ranking officers to issue direct instructions that must be followed by the junior officers.

A good example was the Abbottabad raid in May 2, 2011 by the United States military officers that resulted in death of Osama bin Laden. During the operations, not everything went as per the plan when one of the military aircrafts went down. However, the officers went on with the operations as instructed and they achieved success. The culture where one does not question instructions nor second-guess senior officers made the operations a success despite the challenges.

The U.S. Marine Corps has tried to embrace some aspects of pluralism where officers’ religious beliefs, socio-cultural practices, and sexual orientation are not defined by the military. However, the pluralism only applies when officers are off their official duties. When they are on duty, their cultures are melted down and they work as a single family able to read and understand the same language of military command.

Modes of Communication in the Organization

According to Senge, Hamilton, and Kania (2015), communication is another important aspect of organizational culture. In the military setting, communication is very important. The military officers cannot act without direct communication from those in command. Once a command is issues, the officers are expected to follow it until those in authority instruct them otherwise. Communication within the U.S. Marine Corps is often delivered verbally.

Once an officer is in the field, the most important tool that he or she is armed with is a firearm. Rarely do foot soldiers carry with them pen and paper. They cannot receive written instructions while in the battlefield because it will take time for each officer to read and interpret the instructions. Petrie (2014) says that time is a critical factor for an officer who is in the battlefield. One second may mean life and death for the officers.

As such, written communication is not applicable in such a setting. Sometimes the officers may interpret the instructions differently. It can be a disaster when field officers read and interpret instructions differently because their actions will not be coordinated. When the actions of the officers are not coordinated, then they cannot achieve the intended objectives. That is why instructions are often delivered verbally in form of commands of the actions that should be taken.

The military operations currently taking place in Somalia can offer a perfect example of the mode of communication used in the military environment. The American officers in Somalia are battling Al Shabab, one of the extremist terror groups that have remained strong in the country despite efforts that have been made by military forces from other parts of the world. The Shabab fighters understand the terrain better than the American forces.

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As such, the U.S. forces have put up aerial surveillance in the Shabab bases that should be struck. Before ground soldiers can make any advancement towards the target, they receive verbal instructions about the threat on the ground, and how they can approach and neutralize it before they walk into a trap. These officers cannot afford to get verbal instructions because of the nature of the job. The instructions delivered must always be in the form of action plan, defining how they are expected to act and stated in clearest terms possible.

Nature of Authority

The United States Marine Corps nature of authority, being a military entity, is clearly defined. The entity has recognized authorities from the top commanders to the junior officers. Like other military departments in the United States, the Marine Corps have three categories of officers the commissioned officers, warrant officers, and enlisted officers (Kennedy, 2013). The commissioned officers are at the top of command, headed by the general.

Under the general, we have the lieutenant general, a major general, brigadier, colonel, lieutenant colonel, major, captain, first lieutenant, and second lieutenant in that order. Among the warrant officers, we have warrant officers 1 to 5 one in that orders of seniority, with warrant officer 6 being the senior most officers in that category. Among the enlisted officers, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps is the senior most officers, followed by sergeant major with the junior most officers being private.

The ranks in the U.S. Marine Corps are clearly defined and all officers are aware of the flow of the command. The nature of the activities the officers are often involved with dictates that such a defined ranking must be present. When officers are in the field, a private cannot and is not expected to issue any command unless given a temporary leadership position over fellow private officers in unavoidable circumstances. Instructions flow from the top most authority, the President of the United States, to the General of the Marine Corps and further down to the junior officers. Each higher rank comes with its own authority and responsibilities.

The officers are expected to understand their current rank and how they have to relate with those at higher ranks when it comes to receiving and decoding instructions, and those in the lower ranks when it comes to encoding the instructions. Being a disciplined force, any act of insubordination carries serious consequences, especially when in the battlefield. This is so because such insubordinations may jeopardize the operations of the entity, and that may put the security of the country at a threat. The order of the president must be implemented directly. That is why the ranks are important. Field commanders at various levels will receive the same instructions, and an action plan hatched that is in line with the set command.

Motivational Techniques

Motivation in the United States Marine Corps is very important in ensuring that the desired objectives are achieved. As Hutton (2014) says, when officers go to the battlefield, they are actually putting personal interests aside and put their lives in serious danger for serving the people of the United States of America. Without proper motivation, the officers cannot be in the battlefield. They cannot receive instructions without question, some of which may lead to their death.

According to Hutton (2014), officers often have both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Many officers join the forces because of intrinsic motivation. The popular culture promoted by the American films portrays service officers as heroes who are strong and brave enough to protect the country from external threats. Youths tend to admire military service and when given opportunity, they would want to join it.

As such, they are driven by intrinsic motivation to join the service. They know that by joining the service, they get to fulfill their childhood dreams of being protectors of the state and heroes in the country. They are ready to expose themselves to danger knowing that whatever happens, they are protecting people they value. According to Kennedy (2013), many officers who join the military get pleasure being part of the armed forces in the country. They feel that it gives them some sense of pride and a class above colleagues. The respect that the society often gives to the officers, especially those who have served outside the country creates a drive that makes it easy for the individuals to join the forces and be part of the risky expeditions.

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Extrinsic motivation is also an important drive for the military officers in various ways. One example is that external forces of getting well-paying jobs often drive the officers to serve in the military. It is a job like any other, and as such, the drive for the officers it to get the monthly salary and allowances. Once they are on the battlefield, they are motivated by the ultimate responsibility of defending their nation.

Whenever a threat to the state is identified and the officers are dispatched to neutralize it, their satisfaction from the operations directly lies on its success. They will be motivated to do their best to get the satisfaction of accomplishing the job in the best way possible. There is always the motivation of protecting their own lives. Once in the battlefield, such as the officers in Iraq and those in Somalia, there is always the threat of a possible deadly attack.

There is always the drive to ensure that they attack before they are attacked. That is one of the most important philosophies guiding the activities of the officers in the U.S. Marine Corps. They know that they cannot afford to be complacent while at work, and neither can they be reactive. As Kennedy (2013) says, sometimes the officers do not have time to react when they are in the battlefield. As such, they must remain proactive, being the side that makes the first and devastating attack before the enemy can react.

Areas of Emotional Quotient

Emotional quotient, also known as emotional intelligence, is defined by Petrie (2014) says one’s ability to identify, assess, and control personal emotions and sometimes the emotions of the group members. The U.S. Marine Corps sometimes face very unsettling situations when they are in the field. Sometimes they witness or get involved in brutal murders where some of the casualties are women and children. As normal human beings, it is easy for them to break down seeing the painful deaths of the innocent individuals caught up in the crossfire. It may pain them even more when they realize that their actions are directly responsible for such deaths.

However, a soldier cannot afford to break down while in the battlefield. He or she cannot afford to drop the guard, lower the weapon, disarm, or do anything that may put the officer’s life and lives of the other officers in danger. The enemy will not hesitate to attack with deadly force if given opportunity. As such, they have to be in full control of their emotions. If an officer sees a colleague who is emotionally breaking down because of the events in the war, the officer must be capable of offering emotional strength to a fellow officer to ensure that they soldier on with the battle. They must always remember that the primary goal is to protect the United States and in so doing they have to do all that is within their powers to neutralize the threat while at the same time protecting their own lives.

The United States Marine Corps has come up with various ways of enhancing emotional quotient of the officers. One example of how this is done is the use of virtual elements (Kennedy, 2013). The American forces are now using the virtual reality technology during training to help the officers understand the real-life situations of a battlefield. Through such technologies, officers are able to know what to expect in the battlefields before getting into the field.

The primary reason why that strategy is used is to ensure that the events that officers will face in the fields do not shock them. Using the VR technologies, the officers are exposed to the worst conditions possible in the battlefield. They get to learn that they are going to a war and one of the most common factors in such environments is death in various forms. They get to learn how some of the extremists would deliberately use civilians, especially women and children, as human shield to distract them during fierce gun battles. These officers also get to learn that some of the civilians are not as innocent as they may appear to be.

Some are used as bait and they are willing to help the enemy, while others are used to plant explosives or transport weapons because they are always seen as innocent individuals. One cannot easily learn these realities in the battlefield. In fact, for a very sympathetic officer with low emotional quotient, he or she may fall into the enemy trap and pay the ultimate price. The VR technology is seen as some kind of a laboratory where one is exposed to the real forces, but in the virtual world, to make them stronger emotionally and able to withstand some of the extreme conditions in the field.


The United States Marine Corps is one of the arms of the United States Armed Forces. Like the other branches of the armed forces, it plays a significant role of ensuring that the United States is protected from any form of external threat. To achieve its mandate, the organizational culture must be in line with the goals, strategic objectives, and mission of the entity. As a disciplined force where commands from superior officers must be followed without question, it is important to have a culture where officers respect and follow instructions given by their superiors. It is true that senior officers may consult junior officers on various issues.

However, the chain of command, from the President of the United States at the top to a private officer at the bottom, must be respected without question. Communication is often made verbally in form of commands for specific actions to be taken.


Hutton, R. L. (2014). Sgt. Reckless: America’s war horse. Washington, DC: Regnery History. Web.

Kennedy, D. M. (2013). The modern American military. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. Web.

Klein, H. (2016). Commitment in organizational contexts: Introduction to the special issue. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37(4), 489–493. Web.

Petrie, N. (2014). Future trends in leadership development. White Paper, 12(11), 4-28. Web.

Senge, P., Hamilton, H., & Kania, J. (2015). The dawn of system leadership. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 27-33. Web.

Sharma, K., & Shilpa, J. (2013). Leadership management: Principles, models and theories. Global Journal of Management and Business Studies, 3(3), 309-318. Web.

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