Adaptive Leadership Theories Applied to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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In his book Organizational Culture and Leadership, Edgar Schein states that the culture of a group can be defined as a pattern of shared basic assumptions that was learned as a group as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, and that has worked well enough to be considered valid and, therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems. This definition of culture resonated with my experiences in NATO because it embodies the true essence of the leadership problems vexing the organization. Simply stated, NATO has faced substantial external adaptation issues since the collapse of the Soviet Union because it has not been able to fully justify its purpose to its members and the world. Additionally, NATO has faced tremendous internal challenges as the continued integration of former enemies makes establishing consensus virtually impossible. NATOs newest members bring their own culture, which directly conflicts with the northern region nations that defined NATO culture for the duration of the Cold War. Working in the upper echelons of the Alliances command structure gave me the perspective and insights needed to discuss the organizational failures or difficulties experienced by NATO with regards to the application of leadership in a diverse organizational culture. Adaptive leadership theories, if applied correctly, can be effective, efficient, and holistic in nature. To better organize any strategy it is essential that the characteristics of the adaptive leadership theories selected are linked to a theme or function of NATOs culture. Dissecting the NATO environment produces three distinct categories institutional, status quo, and the future. Ultimately, it is necessary to group the relevant characteristics of the various adaptive leadership methodologies and craft them into a workable and sustainable theory unique to the NATO problem set.
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations