New Opportunities for Military Women: Effects upon Readiness, Cohesion, and Morale

By Margaret C. Harrell; Laura L. Miller | Go to book overview

Chapter Five
EFFECTS OF GENDER INTEGRATION ON MORALE

OVERALL ISSUES THAT AFFECT MORALE

A 1991 assessment of various definitions and uses of the term morale in the military arrived at a useful working definition, and the assessment asserts that the term is really relevant only for individuals who are members of a goal-oriented group (Manning, 1991). That definition focuses on the degree to which group members are enthusiastic about and committed to carrying out the duties of that group. This assessment also noted that research indicates morale is a function of cohesion at both the primary (small) work group level and the secondary (larger) unit level.

The written survey findings suggest that gender is one of many issues that affect morale, but it is not one of the primary factors influencing morale. In the written questionnaire, we asked respondents to rate the morale of their units. These results are shown in Table 5.1. The majority of people ranked their units' morale as medium. Of the remainder, those of higher pay grades tended to evaluate their units' morale as high, whereas more junior personnel tended to perceive morale as low. The responses differed by unit, but there was no apparent pattern among the differences by either the gender ratio of the unit or the relative size of unit. Thus, we attribute the unit differences to unit history and leadership differences.

Besides asking respondents directly about unit morale, as shown above, we also asked a less direct question about how they felt about their units. These responses are shown in Table 5.2. If one interprets the five responses as five measures on a scale of morale, the respon-

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