study focuses on the effectiveness of the implementation of educating and
training U.S. military personnel on the Department of Defense Military
Equal Opportunity Policy. The relationship between the implementation of
EO training and service members’ perceptions should yield a positive correlation.
Participants in the survey will consist of Reserve Officer Training Corps
cadets, new recruits in basic training, and active duty military members.
Group mean variation will be measured. Suggestions for future research
United States Armed Forces continue to be at the forefront of the equal
opportunity movement for race and gender relations. In 1988 when the Department
of Defense (DoD) put the Military Equal Opportunity Act into policy, it
was clearly stated that no one in the armed forces would be discriminated
against based on their gender, color of their skin, their nationality,
or religious orientation.
DoD Directive 1350.2, revised in 1995 (DoD, 1995), is still in effect today
and continues to impact every aspect of military life from quality of life
factors to unit cohesion. Through continued education and training
on military equal opportunity it is expected that, Marines, soldiers, sailors,
and airmen would enjoy a higher quality of life with less discrimination
compared to their civilian counterparts (Moskos & Butler, 1997).
The advancement or promotion of individual military members will derive
from their personal desire, potential and personal performance (DoD Directive
Through an aggressive awareness plan, the separate service public affairs
offices must promote the concept of equal opportunity throughout the services
to continue to solidify and maintain a high level of public support, retain
military members, and use the campaign as a recruitment tool for tomorrow’s
The purpose of this paper is twofold. First, it will provide the
basis and rationale for determining the perceptions of equal opportunity
among three groups of military personnel, each with different levels of
training and exposure to the equal opportunity policy. Based on the results
attained, public affairs offices will be able to effectively target the
audience that needs either further education or awareness through an aggressive
awareness plan. The awareness plan will highlight the positive aspects
of equal opportunity within the military and aid in the maintenance of
the military’s positive image, retention, and recruitment.
of the Problem
active duty and reserve members of the armed services are required to receive
initial and recurrent equal opportunity training once they join the service.
With increased emphasis on greater exposure to equal opportunity policies
and expected behavior, service members are being taught that discrimination
is unacceptable, and is in fact not tolerable (DEOC, 1998). The military
as an institution enjoys the highest confidence level among the American
public when compared to other government agencies and institutions (Gallup
Poll, 1997). Part of the reason this confidence level is maintained
is due to the policies and expectations that are clear and enforced in
the military--one of these being the right to equal opportunity for advancement
regardless of gender, race, national origin, or religious orientation (Moskos
& Butler, 1997). When compared with their civilian counterparts,
it is expected that military members will score more positively when asked
about their perceptions of equal opportunity within their organization
or workplace. Using this rationale, public affairs offices throughout
the services must capitalize on this perception to aid in the maintenance
of the military’s positive image, retention, and recruitment both internally
and externally. Therefore a pro-active campaign must be established
for the services in addition to already institutionalized training, highlighting
this positive perception of equal opportunity within the military. Additionally,
in light of the DoD position of “zero tolerance” of any infractions regarding
EO, service members themselves must see and know their concerns over any
perceived injustices will be aggressively and fully pursued.
the latest recorded Gallup Poll (1997) results on public confidence, the
U.S. military was rated highest among government institutions. This high
confidence level may be attributed to the DoD policy on EO which promotes
an environment free from personal, social or institutional barriers that
prevent service members from rising to the highest level of responsibility
possible (DoD Directive 1350.2, 1995). According to this policy all
service members will be evaluated only on individual merit, fitness, and
capability. The regulations make clear that discrimination is unlawful,
is contrary to good order and discipline, and counterproductive to combat
readiness and mission accomplishment (DoD Directive 1350.2, 1995).
Possibly the key to the success of the military in racial and gender integration
is the superordinate goal of mission accomplishment (DEOC, 1998).
However, the overall implementation of the policy could not work without
leadership support. The military needs commander commitment and accountability,
clarity of policy among the individual services, effective training and
prompt, thorough and fair complaints handling (DEOC, 1998). As a result
of the military’s success in equal opportunity, William E. Leftwich, III,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Equal Opportunity states that
not only has the military become an example for the rest of the nation—but
also the rest of the world. When U.S. forces deploy they show that
diversity can be a source of strength (Leftwich, 1998). Waldman (1996)
points out that the military has effectively provided for affirmative action
without quotas, without lowering standards, and surprisingly with little
backlash. Waldman (1996) continues by accepting that military race
relations are not perfect, but the lessons provided for civilian society
cannot be ignored. Moskos and Butler (1997) recognize
that the services are not race-blind, but rather race savvy. By specifically
studying the Army, they note that the methods of surveillance and authoritarian
leadership, economic security, quality enlistees all contribute to the
success of racial and gender integration. When looking at transferring
the success to the civilian sector, they note the Army’s clearly developed
policies that related nondiscrimination to organizational goal attainment,
unit efficiency, and promotional opportunities (Moskos & Butler, 1997).
They suggest that American corporations must adopt a similar approach or
consequently become less effective and less able to compete in international
markets (Moskos & Butler, 1997). Historically,
the focus of the equal opportunity program has been on affecting behavior
but not necessarily attitudes (Mershon & Schlossman, 1998). Today the
concentration is not only affecting behavior, but rather, affecting attitudes
(Mershon & Schlossman, 1998).
According to the Annual Defense Report, Appendix G: Personnel Readiness
Factors by Race and Gender, DoD Office of the Executive Secretary, 1999,
there has yet to be any clear cut indicators of the effectiveness of the
military equal opportunity programs. The DoD has built a diverse force
reflecting our societal makeup. This composition is seen as a positive
statement about what is possible in a multiracial, multiethnic society.
Since most youth who are inclined to enter the military know someone who
is, or has been in the military, their opinions are formed through others.
Veterans tend to be a powerful influence on the attitudes and perceptions
of potential recruits (ADR, 1999).
Under direction of the Secretary of Defense (1997), the services have worked
hard to provide reasonably consistent promotion opportunities in order
to meet requirements, ensure a balanced personnel force structure and provide
a meaningful opportunity for all service members.
sociologist, Moore (1998) acknowledges that the military has been exemplary
in reducing overt forms of racism and organizational restrictions against
minorities and criminalizes blatant discrimination, but warns the military
still has steps to take to reduce racial inequities. So although steps
are being effective, the struggle still continues (Moore, 1998). Statistics
have also shown that the proportion of blacks in key leadership and management
positions appears to be stagnant or declining and promotion rates for minorities
are well below average (Newman, 1998). This has been attributed to the
disparities in performance ratings of white and black officers early in
their careers that become amplified over time (Newman, 1998). Most
personnel indicated a trust in the military to remedy the problem, that
was based not on blind faith, but on a track record that has proven itself
and Research Questions
order to determine service member’s perceptions of equal opportunity, the
impact of the implementation of the Department of Defense policy on equal
opportunity must first be determined. Culture is defined as all the accepted
and patterned ways of behavior of a given people (Brown, 1963). Brown
(1963) states that an organizational culture can be thought of as a mini-society
with it’s own unique patterns. Subjective reality of a culture is
defined through it’s metaphors, rituals, stories, heroes, artifacts, performances
and values (Byers, 1997). Cultivation analysis discusses how message systems
can be analyzed in terms of recurrent, stable and overarching patterns
of messages within a social system (Gerbner, Gross, Morgan & Signorielli,
Gerbner argues that the mass media cultivates attitudes and values which
are already present in a culture: the media maintain and propagate these
values amongst members of a culture, thus binding it together. Although
cultivation theory discusses the effect of media on cultural views, cultivation
may also be applied in this research since it is concerned with the totality
of the pattern communicated over a long period of exposure. In other words,
this is not a theory of individual media effects but instead makes a statement
about the culture as a whole (Littlejohn, 1996). Cultivation occurs
in any group context where recurrent themes or message patterns affect
group perceptions. Therefore intraorganizational cultivation in the
military is achieved by consistent themes or patterns disseminated in organizational
members who have had more exposure to the military over time may be more
hesitant to adopt positive attitudes aligned with the DOD policy on equal
opportunity. This is not attributed to any one perception or incident,
but to several over time. Important factors to consider in this research
are how military members create and display their understanding of events
concerning equal opportunity within the organization. A possible
answer may lie in Pacanowsky and O’Donnell-Trujillo’s explanation (1982)
that people develop their attitudes in an organization using relevant constructs
and related vocabulary, perceived facts, practices or activities, metaphors,
stories, and rites and rituals. When military members conform
to DoD policy through positive behavior, it does not guarantee they will
adopt similar positive attitudes or perceptions. For example,
a member may not have directly been treated unfairly in the workplace,
but may have heard of someone at their last assignment who was. Poor
attitudes could still be harbored about equal opportunity in the military.
After years of research and a considerable amount of money and time, military
leaders have adopted an official equal opportunity training program hoping
to address, and possibly change some of those negative attitudes.
This program may be proven to be effective, in creating a general environment
of equal opportunity in the military, but will the training perceptions
translate into positive perceptions and appropriate behavior in specific
military contexts? This leads to research question one:
RQ1: Does the level
of exposure to training on the DoD policy of equal opportunity lead to
a more positive perception of equal opportunity in the military?
rationale is provided supporting that the implementation of the Department
of Defense policy has a positive effect on service member’s attitudes toward
equal opportunity, communication theory can be employed to plan the public
affairs campaign that will be distributed to both internal and external
Social judgement identifies successful persuasion dependent upon how the
message relates to the person’s current beliefs (Sherif, Sherif, &
Nebergall, 1965)and will be used in designing the awareness plan.
Social judgement also involves determining the target group’s latitude
of acceptance, what positions a person finds acceptable; latitude of rejection,
what is totally objectionable; and latitude of non-commitment, position
for which a person’s attitude is neutral (Sherif, et al., 1965).
Once the latitude of acceptance is found, public affairs offices can buttress
the awareness campaign with media on anchoring positions common to the
group (Sherif, et al., 1965).
judgement will guide the awareness plan through incorporating currently
held beliefs to reaffirm examples of positive displays of equal opportunity
to further enhance the policy information using diversified mediated forms
(Sherif, et al., 1965). According to this theory, by selecting the
way the message is formed, concurring with an anchor within the latitude
of acceptance, the groups’ attitude stands to be persuaded after a persistent
campaign. Over time, the cumulative effect of persuasion will transpire
into changed attitudes (Sherif, et al., 1965).
RQ1 asks general perceptions about military EO, the eventual goal of this
research project is to create a specifically targeted information/awareness
plan for military groups in need of enhanced EO training or awareness.
A social judgement approach will be utilized to create a systematic approach
to EO training for those demographic groups reporting low perceptions of
EO in the military. The targeted training should produce improved
perceptions of EO. Following the implementation of the equal opportunity
awareness plan, the study should support the hypothesis: H1: Additional
exposure and enhancement of existing training programs improves perceptions
perceptions of the three sample groups will be determined by administering
the Department of Defense Military Equal Opportunity Climate Assessment
Survey (MEOCAS) to the first sample of 150 personnel to acquire baseline
perceptions. These groups will be selected based on their various levels
of exposure and training in the current DoD policy. Group 1 has had
minimal exposure to the policy, Group 2 structured exposure throughout
initial entry training, and Group 3 the most exposure with a minimum of
one full day’s training per year. Selection will be done through the use
of a table of random numbers (Sommer & Sommer, 1997). Selected participants
will be 18 to 25 years old and represent all four military services.
Participants will come from the following stratified groups:
Group 1: Reserve Officer
Training Course cadets
Group 2: New recruits in
Group 3: Enlisted and officer
groups are expected to have an approximate mean age of 22.Once perceptions
will be generalized to the whole population from which the sample was taken
and should provide the answer to RQ1. Once the group with the lowest
positive perception of equal opportunity in the military is established,
application of an active public affairs awareness plan (communication intervention)
will be applied in Phase II.
II seeks to explore H1 through the implementation of the awareness plan
targeted to the group with the lowest perceptions of EO in Phase I.
groups in Phase II will consist of approximately 300 participants.
All participants will be randomly selected from each of the three stratified
military groups listed below, providing they did not participate in the
initial baseline determination. Again, these groups will be selected
based on their various levels of exposure and training in the current DoD
policy. Group 1 has had minimal exposure to the policy, Group 2 structured
exposure throughout initial entry training, and Group 3 the most exposure
with a minimum of one full day’s training per year. Selection will be done
through the use of a table of random numbers (Sommer & Sommer, 1997).
Selected participants will be 18 to 25 years old and represent all four
military services. Participants will come from the following stratified
Group 1: Reserve Officer
Training Course cadets
Group 2: New recruits in
Group 3: Enlisted and officer
All three groups are expected to have an approximate mean age of 22.
variable is the effect of the implementation of an enhancement awareness
plan of the Department of Defense equal opportunity policies. The
independent variable will then be manipulated by applying treatment to
some groups and through the use of a control group within a pretest, posttest,
control group design.
variable, perceptions of equal opportunity within the military will be
measured following application of the treatment/awareness plan. Design
A pretest, posttest, control group design is used to account for sources
of external and internal invalidity that could potentially influence test
results (Sommer & Sommer, 1997). Assumptions are that each separate
service at all levels has implemented equal opportunity training programs
as directed by DoD Directive 1350.2 (1995). Although commanders are
required to meet the minimum guidelines, they may schedule training more
often. Additionally, each service component must monitor training,
encourage feedback, and ensure every EO complaint is thoroughly investigated.Identical
criteria will be applied to each of the three groups in Phase II to ensure
reliability. The effects of the stimuli on participants will be measured
through a posttest of the MEOCAS. Evaluations will be done and answers
to H1 will be determined through the use of a pretest, posttest, control
group design. A one-way analysis of variance will then be used to
analyze the difference between the means of the posttest results.
will be the application of a public affairs awareness plan (communication
intervention), intended to supplement existing training, dependent upon
group breakdown under pretest, posttest, control group design. Using the
results of the first sample pretest survey as a baseline and data analysis,
a public affairs plan will be written and designed for DoD approval and
implementation. The awareness plan, in partnership with the
Equal Opportunity Training Office, will include the following:
(a) Open forums facilitated
by an EO trainer bi-monthly to discuss discrimination issues in the work
place. The forum would be part of the unit’s quarterly training
schedule and involve group participation.
(b) A standing column in
the military newspaper every week, highlighting military issues on equal
opportunity and discrimination in the military, and how it impacts mission
readiness. Commanders of basic training units should provide free access
to military newspapers during the study time.
(c) Establish a hotline for
study participants to call in complaints or comments anonymously on perceived
discrimination events in the workplace. Responses could be written in base
newspaper column or special flyer.
(d) A website will be set
up for open accessibility. Fact sheets and links to further education
on equal opportunity would be posted, along with permissions for anyone
to read or post comments.
(e) Fact sheets would be
developed including the DoD Directive on discrimination, legal definitions,
sources and points of contact, and case studies to illustrate resolutions.
This information would be distributed among the three groups.
(f) Theme posters developed
with graphics and text, reflecting DoD policy. Posters would be displayed
in high traffic areas in groups’ respective work areas.
(g) A wallet size business
card would be developed with bullet statements highlighting EO terms and
include contact phone numbers, website addresses. These cards
would be distributed to all members of the unit.
(h) Commanders will be provided
briefing packets to speak at group formations on DoD policy concerning
discrimination. Quotas of one briefing per formation per month will
experiment seeks to explore three groups’ perceptions of equal opportunity
within the military in relation to their training levels. To
measure the effectiveness of DoD equal opportunity training and exposure
to the military’s diverse environment, the sample groups in Phase I will
be tested with the MEOCAS (see Appendix A). The results will then be scored
to determine their perceptions of equal opportunity in the military.
Sample questions from the survey will include:
18. A majority supervisor
did not select a qualified minority subordinate for promotion.
78. I understand the
feelings of people of other races better since I became associated
with the military.
82. Trying to bring
about the integration of women and minorities is more trouble than
Using the scale of (1) totally agree, (2) moderately agree, (3) neither
agree nor disagree, (4) moderately agree, or (5) totally disagree participants
will be asked to respond to the questions. Participants will be randomly
selected on a stratified basis to offset internal validity problems.
The pretest will be administered at approximately the same time, under
similar conditions. Survey proctors will not wear uniforms or indicate
current service status. The process will be explained similarly to
all participants and a thorough debrief will be conducted following the
experiments. At any time if a participant is unwilling to continue
to participate they will be given the option to withdraw. Following the
scoring of the pretest, the differences between means of the three groups
will be measured using a one-way ANOVA. Multiple comparison procedures
will then be applied to determine where the differences lie between the
mean scores of the three groups.
Once it is determined which group has the lowest perception of equal opportunity
that group will be targeted with an aggressive communication intervention.
Following the selection of the second sample group in Phase II, the use
of a pretest, posttest, control group design will be applied to factor
out extraneous variables. Groups 1-3 remain the same test groups.
Each group is further divided into three subgroups.
(A) will receive no pretest and no stimuli (awareness plan) but will receive
the posttest, subgroup (B) will receive the pretest, no stimuli and will
receive the posttest and subgroup (C) will receive the pretest, the stimuli
and posttest. Following the intervention, a posttest
will be administered to the entire sample using the same MEOCAS.
To measure the success of the communication plan implementation, a one-way
ANOVA will be used followed by multiple comparison procedure to see where
the differences lie.
purpose of this study was to take a closer look at the implementation of
the DoD equal opportunity training and the effect on service member’s perceptions
and to measure the results. By measuring the perceptions of
three similar, yet distinct DoD related military groups, the extracted
data should provide more effective identification of possible deficiencies
in EO awareness and target additional training for future EO programs.
To achieve content validity in the research, the three chosen groups represent
various levels of training within the military: basic trainees, ROTC cadets,
and enlisted and officer active duty members. All participants will
fall into the same median age group, differentiated only by exposure to
the training on the DoD policy. Content validity exists if
subjects in an experiment are expected to actually “do” the thing that
is being tested or measured (Emmert & Barker, 1989).
For Phase I, the findings of the survey used to test for RQ1 will be quantitatively
measured using a one-way ANOVA. A one-way ANOVA will express the
variance in the means of the three groups in regard to their exposure to
DoD (service specific) equal opportunity training and their resulting perception
response (Sommer & Sommer, 1997). Multiple comparison procedures will
then be applied to determine where the differences lie between the mean
scores of the three groups. Research considerations are the overlap
in scores distribution. There should be a significant difference
between the means of the ROTC cadets, new basic training recruits, and
active duty military scores. A significance level of p>.05 in the means
of the three scores is expected.
For Phase II, to analyze scores of H1, one-way ANOVA will also be used.
Again, a significance level of p>.05 in the means of the three scores is
expected. Multiple comparison procedures will then be applied to determine
where the differences lie between the mean scores of the three groups.
It is predicted that subgroup (A) posttest should show the least positive
perception of equal opportunity. Subgroup (B) should show a more
positive perception of equal opportunity than subgroup (A). Subgroup
(C) posttest should show the most change toward positive perception of
equal opportunity compared to the subgroup’s pretest and the other subgroup
By surveying these particular groups, results should show an overall valid
assessment of perceptions on equal opportunity in the military from people
who have had different degrees of EO training and exposure to military
environment. Random selection of subjects, random assignments of
subjects to groups, and random assignment of groups to treatment conditions
are all indices of attempts on the part of the researcher to avoid bias
(Emmert & Barker, 1989).
Control is also used to avoid error either separately or in combination
with randomization techniques (Emmert & Barker, 1989).
To analyze the scores, and differences between means, a one-way ANOVA will
be used. External validity refers to the generalizability of the
findings (Sommer & Sommer, 1997). This proposed research, measuring
the effectiveness of EO training in the military, could provide valuable
tools in determining future training needs and is applicable across all
departments of the DoD.Implications for
remains one of the few institutions in America concerned with turning out
good citizens who seek leadership, practice discipline, and it has successfully
tackled problems, most notably race and gender integration (Waldman, 1996).
By examining the implementation of the current EO training in the military,
we can ensure steps are being taken to keep a foothold in the future as
leaders of equal opportunity in the workplace. Surveying military members
on their perceptions of equal opportunity is an essential key to developing
an effective public affairs plan for DoD implementation. It
also has significant applicability to recruiting and retention efforts.
In a 1997 Youth Attitude Tracking Study, (ADR, 1999) eleven percent of
young men and thirteen percent of young women (both groups 16 to 21 years-old)
cited conversations with military members or veterans as a reason for increased
interest in military service. With ten percent of both men
and women whose interest had decreased, conversations with military members
and veterans were more frequently mentioned than recruiter contact and
recruiting advertisements. The study also found four out of
five respondents know someone who is, or has been, in the military and
are strongly influenced by what these people say, and how they behave.
It will continue to be important for DoD leaders to ensure the people currently
in the military not only believe they are fairly treated, but also derive
pride and satisfaction from their experiences. (ADR, 1999) Veterans who
have served will always be a powerful influence on the attitudes and perceptions
of potential recruits.
With a comprehensive public affairs awareness plan addressing internal
attitudes and perceptions of equal opportunity in the military, we can
take steps to protect and preserve our reputation as a world class organization
others seek to emulate (Moskos & Butler, 1998). In the long term, public
affairs must continue to help improve the military image and culture with
internal and external audiences. This will ensure the military remains
an attractive option for those who serve and those who might consider such
service. Collectively the resulting tangible and intangible outcomes
will serve to boost morale and performance, recognizing that the best recruiters
are soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen themselves.
DoD continues to work toward equitable pay and benefits, excellence in
training and quality of life, public affairs needs to ensure those who
serve have the information available to be a part of the team. In
turn, they will convey the benefits of their service to the next generation
of military men and women.
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