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Cultural Themes in Messages from Top Air Force Leaders, 2005-2008

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Documented briefing

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An organizations senior leadership can create, embed, and transmit an organizations culture. What leaders consistently pay attention to, reward, control, and react to emotionally provides an overarching cultural framework and can signal leaders priorities for the organization. Inconsistent or nonsalient goals from leaders can cause confusion among subordinates and foster the emergence of an abundant set of subcultures within an organization, some of which may undermine organizational priorities. To help the Air Force ensure that the emphasis and content of messages its top senior leaders aim at its personnel reinforce stated cultural goals, RAND researchers conducted this analysis of cultural themes within these communications. The cultural goals of the Air Force leadership included 1. define the organizations purpose and identity for its members 2. promote the Air Forces core values 3. create a shared identity across the Air Force 4. reinforce a sense of value, recognition, and belonging among all Air Force personnel 5. care for the well-being of Airmen. Air Force publications, such as former Secretary of the Air Force Michael Wynnes Air Force Goal Card, expressed these in various forms. RAND assessed the level of consistency of senior leadership messages with these goals, using the set of messages addressed to Air Force personnel by Gen T. Michael Moseley CSAF, September 2005-August 2008, the Honorable Michael W. Wynne SECAF, November 2005-June 2008, and CMSgt Rodney J. McKinley CMSAF, June 2006-present. We used a standard content analysis methodology to analyze the following messages dating from September 2005 to March 2008 Letter to Airmen either from the SECAF or jointly from the SECAF and CSAF, CSAFs Scope, CSAFs Vector, or The Enlisted Perspective from CMSAF.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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