Ecological Systems Theory: Using Spheres of Influence to Support Small-unit Climate and Training
Technical Report,01 Jul 2015,31 Jan 2016
ARMY RESEARCH INST FOR THE BEHAVIORAL AND SOCIAL SCIENCES FORT BELVOIR VA FORT BELVOIR United States
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Army teams operate in a complex organization that has many systems and levels. These small units e.g., teams, squads are generally studied from a process perspective, which posits that teams develop by progressing through a series of phases or stages e.g., forming, storming, norming, performing. However, there is evidence that teams with standardized norms, differentiated team member roles, and interdependence among team members do not follow traditional team development processes. In contrast to taking snapshots of team development during a specified phase, ecological systems theory takes into account the roles, responsibilities, and influence of individuals inside and outside of the team. In the Army Ecological System ARES, sphere of influence is used to describe individuals who have the ability to affect change and development within a system. These individuals affect the tasks, behaviors, and policies that are located at each system level. The ARES model is discussed, and a conceptual representation of the Soldier Ecological System SEcoS is presented. Test and validation of ARES is also discussed. Future research will investigate how ecological systems analysis can be used to better understand roles and spheres of influence at the individual, small unit, and military community level.