This chapter examines the effects of gender integration on unit cohesion. First, a definition of and framework for cohesion developed by previous research is offered. Second, responses to questionnaire items on cohesion are presented. Third, survey and focus-group data regarding the effects of gender integration on cohesion are discussed. The people we surveyed differed in the level of cohesion they experienced within their units. These differences are acknowledged herein and serve as an organizing framework for reporting our data. Our findings are evaluated according to the standards set by decades of research on the topic of cohesion and work performance. Our results support the framework developed by previous scholars. In this chapter, unit refers to both the smaller work group and the larger unit level.
Before delving into the research findings to examine the differences in perception, especially according to grade, a discussion of cohesion in general is in order. A common misperception is that cohesion is equivalent to social bonding and that more is always desirable. Decades of social science research into social cohesion, work performance, and military effectiveness, however, demonstrate the importance of distinguishing between two types of cohesion:
Social cohesion refers to the nature and quality of the emotional bonds of friendship, liking, caring, and closeness among group members. A group is socially cohesive to the extent that its members like each other, prefer to spend their social time together, enjoy