This 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 are included.  
     The 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 1350.2, 1995). 
     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 military members. 
     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. 
Statement of the Problem
     All 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. 
Review of Literature
     In 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. 
    Military 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 (Newman, 1998). 
Rationale and Research Questions
     In 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, 1986). 
     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 messages. 
    Military 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? 

    Once the 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 audiences. 
     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). 
    Social 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). 
    While 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 of EO. 

Phase I 
    General 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 Basic Training
Group 3: Enlisted and officer service members
    All three 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. 

Phase II 
    Phase 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.

    The sample 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 groups: 

Group 1: Reserve Officer Training Course cadets 
Group 2: New recruits in Basic Training 
Group 3: Enlisted and officer service members 

       All three groups are expected to have an approximate mean age of 22. 

Independent Variable 
    The independent 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.  

Dependent Variable 
    The dependent 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. 

Stimulus/Treatment (Awareness Plan) 
    Treatment 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 be set.  

    This 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 its worth. 

     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. 
    Subgroup (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. 

     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 scores. 

     The 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). 
     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  
Future Use 
    The military 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. 
    As the 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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