The influence of the military posting cycle on group formation and team development in the Australian Defence Force

Paper


Hingst, Ray. 2012. "The influence of the military posting cycle on group formation and team development in the Australian Defence Force." Morley, Michael J. (ed.) 11th World Congress of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management. Limerick, Ireland 26 - 29 Jun 2012 Dublin, Ireland.
Paper/Presentation Title

The influence of the military posting cycle on group formation and team development in the Australian Defence Force

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorHingst, Ray
EditorsMorley, Michael J.
Journal or Proceedings TitleManagement Re-imagined: Programme and Proceedings of the 11th World Congress of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management
ERA Conference ID60545
Number of Pages17
Year2012
Place of PublicationDublin, Ireland
ISBN9781907300059
Web Address (URL) of Paperhttp://www.ifsam2012.org
Conference/Event11th World Congress of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management
International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management (IFSAM) Conference
Event Details
11th World Congress of the International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management
Event Date
26 to end of 29 Jun 2012
Event Location
Limerick, Ireland
Event Details
International Federation of Scholarly Associations of Management (IFSAM) Conference
IFSAM
Abstract

This paper seeks to describe and understand what influence the movement of personnel in the Australian Defence Force (ADF), associated the ‘posting cycle’, has on group formation and team development.

The military posting cycle, by intent and function, imposes substantial change to membership on groups and teams. The structural elements retain their formal identity and role within the organisation, and some of their constituent membership, while a significant proportion of the group members leave the group, sometimes remaining within the same geographic location but in different positions, and are replaced by new members. Postings also occur for compassionate and a variety of other reasons, in conjunction with individual promotions, and when personnel are deployed on operations. In latter case, entire units often relocate into another geographic location. A period of intense preparation in terms of medical, technical skill and general readiness is conducted in preparation for rotation through an operational area. In these circumstances, the preparatory period may result in closer bonds being formed between group members through an intense, task focused process of team development.

This study includes both full-time and part-time serving members of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Australian Army (Army), and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in order to identify and attempt to explain the impact of the various service cultures on members and their respective use of in and out of cycle postings. In order to test the validity of chosen theoretical framework, Tuckman’s 1965 ‘forming, storming, norming and performing’ model and later 1977, ‘adjourning’ revision, (with Jensen), in a military context, groups which have recently participated in periods of training from each service, and Officer Cadets from the Australian Defence Force Academy, characterised by relatively stable group membership


Research methodology
The methodology used in this research is qualitative. The combination of techniques should lend a degree of reliability due to triangulation through the use of multiple devices: survey questionnaire, semi-structured interview and focus groups.
Findings
The initial findings resulting from this work point to the validity of Tuckman’s model as an accurate descriptor of behaviour in environments where groups are subject to stable membership, where team development is deliberately integrated into the daily routine of the group over a prolonged period. These conditions manifest themselves in the various training environments investigated in this study.
Conclusions
This paper should make a significant contribution to the understanding of the form, function and effectiveness of groups and teams within the uniformed personnel of the ADF. The posting cycle serves as a mechanism which imposes change to the membership of groups, a condition outside the scope of Tuckman’s widely recognised and acknowledged, model of group development, from which point, this study has examined group formation and development. This study presents a significant extension of Tuckman’s theory into a context of membership change. In the military context, it adds to the understanding of group formation and team development subject to the influence of the posting cycle, which has implications for recruitment, training, job performance, member satisfaction and their quality of life.

Keywordsmilitary groups, military teams, group formation, team development, military postings
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020350710. Organisational behaviour
350709. Organisation and management theory
Public Notes

Copyright, Individual contributors 2012.

Byline AffiliationsSchool of Management and Marketing
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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