JOINT CULTURE IN THE U.S. MILITARY: ACCOMPLISHING THE MISSION BY ADAPTING TO ORGANIZATOINAL DIVERSITY
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This dissertation develops the concept of joint culture by analyzing the experiences of military service personnel who served in joint assignments through the perspectives of organizational and cognitive anthropology and the application of participant observation, semi-structured interviews and schema analysis grounded in interviewee narratives. This dissertation uses a logical framework to organize and conduct interviews and guide the analysis of interviewee narratives. Concepts and themes from interviews are systematically examined following the logical framework to posit a set of cognitive structures associated with joint culture. At least two joint cultural schemas are present in the accounts of joint service that interrelate to form a cultural model of jointness that prepares personnel to function in a joint cultural environment. First, a schema of joint culture, the tacit cognitive structures focused on the priority of mission accomplishment that motivates personnel to work through the inter-organizational differences encountered in the joint environment. Second, a schema for joint culture, the more procedural or process focused explicit cognitive structure that informs how service personnel figure out the steps before, during and after a joint assignment. These schemas dynamically interrelate and are intersubjectively shared in adaptive ways as service personnel navigate their joint assignments. This dissertation finds that while military service personnel may not understand formal joint concepts or benefit from formal joint credit for each of their joint assignments, they believe joint service is valuable as an opportunity to learn from the other services and because of the organizational diversity that brings complimentary capabilities together to accomplish the mission. This dissertation adds to the growing body of literature that deals with anthropology of the military and may represent the first cognitive anthropological research into an important cultural context for many military personnel and illustrates how anthropological methods can be applied to military cultural contexts.