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Determinants of Privilege, Justice, Unit Cohesion and Unit Effectiveness in the Military

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The purpose of this research was to investigate white or majority group privilege in the military. The investigation also attempted to examine the determinants of majority privilege, minority privilege, organizational justice, work group cohesion, and work group effectiveness of military personnel. White privilege is operationalized as a set of unearned benefits that are only available to majority group members and are so ingrained into the fabric of American life such that most Caucasians are unaware of their very existence McIntosh, 1989. Using a survey research methodology, this study sampled 5,882 members of the military to observe their responses to organizational climate factors such as job satisfaction, commitment, organizational trust, etc. Additional items are added to the survey instrument to assess affective commitment, procedural organizational justice, majority privilege, and minority privilege. The hypotheses are tested using structural equation models for six racioethnic groups American IndiansNative Alaskans, Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Pacific IslandersNative Hawaiians, and Whites. Findings revealed that racist behavior was a salient predictor of organizational justice, majority privilege, minority privilege, work group effectiveness, and work group cohesion. In the gender models, racist behavior also was a significant predictor of most outcome variables, including unit effectiveness, unit cohesion, majority privilege and organizational justice for female military members. Thus, one of best ways to improve the organizational climate in the military is to reduce racist behavior in military units. The reduction of racist behavior may have a salutary effect on the perceptions of persons of color regarding majority group privilege, as racist behavior was a significant predictor of this outcome variable in each racioethnic group model.

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