Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

Creating A Collaborative Virtual Command Center among Four Separate Organizations in the United States Army: An Exploratory Case Study

Academic journal article Organization Development Journal

Creating A Collaborative Virtual Command Center among Four Separate Organizations in the United States Army: An Exploratory Case Study

Article excerpt

Abstract

While individual leadership skills are an important factor in transforming organizations, leading through a common mission and shared purpose of collaborative and efficient interaction requires leaders to participate in different ways. The purpose of this study was to determine how to create a collaborative and efficient virtual Command Center within the new leadership structure of a Life Cycle Management Command within the United States Army. This case study employed a variety of organization development tools to bring together leadership, change agents, and customers to create a new vision and strategic plan of how to operate effectively. Leadership used the results of this study to implement the structural changes and new processes required for a successful transformation to a virtual business.

Keywords: organization development, virtual organization, lean six sigma

Introduction

The United States Army is currently undergoing significant changes in the way it does acquisition, which is the business of acquiring equipment for the services (Carter, 2010). Historically, the size and cost of the Army fluctuates based on the country's need. Because of the current state of the economy and draw down of two wars, the Army now finds itself in an urgent situation of having to reduce costs by cutting programs and becoming more efficient (Obama, 2012).

Within the Army, there are two separate chains of command that have authority in the area of providing and maintaining equipment for the military. The first is a civilian chain of command, headed up by the Army Acquisition Executive, who is a political appointee responsible for controlling funds provided by Congress to acquire new equipment. The second is a military chain of command thatreports to the Chief of Staff ofthe Army and is responsible for the readiness and logistics of equipment. This second chain of command is lead by the Army Material Command which is also the home of the Research, Development, and Engineering function. There is overlap between the chains of command, because the civilian Army Acquisition Executive also holds the title Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology [ASA(ALT)]. Additionally, coordination and communication are critical between these two chains of command as funding for the Research, Development, and Engineering Command, which reports up through the military command is funded by the civilian command.

In order to better synchronize the two chains of command and create a more collaborative and efficient method of delivering equipment to the field, the Army created the concept of a Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC). The function of this new command center is to integrate the acquisition functions, the technology support functions, and the logistics and sustainment functions into a more holistic business model under the care of a commanding general (Kern & Bolton, 2004). Traditionally, command centers are often managed by standard command and control and/ or control of funding, however since few of the organizations brought together in this new concept actually report to the Commanding General, the new leadership is open to leading through a common mission and shared purpose of collaborative and efficient interaction.

The purpose of this study was to determine how to create a collaborative and efficient virtual business organization within the new leadership structure of the Life Cycle Management Command within the United States Army.

Literature Review

There are several change models in the literature that look at the process from a variety of aspects and highlight different challenges (Cooperrider, Sorensen, Yaeger, & Whitney, 2001; Anderson & Anderson, 2001; Kirkpatrick, 2001; Mentó, Jones, & Dimdorfer, 2002; Leppitt, 2006; Light, 2005). There are also competing philosophies and descriptions of the different roles and types of change agents (Pettigrew & Whipp, 1991; Quinn, 1993; Dawson, 2003; Kotter, 1995; Pendlebury, Grouard, & Meston, 1998). …

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