Applied Military Psycology Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Psychology

Document 1

As they partake in this endeavor that most people would dread they have no one else, but, each other to rely on for back up and for comfort. When a person knowingly walks towards an enemy line with the intention of coming back alive, he or she would rather have a companion that he can trust and rely on in case things don’t go well. Such are the reasons why psychologists chose to study the military group as a social group in an effort to understand their drive as a unit in the face of danger. This paper will take a brief look at the roles of the primary group and cohesion in the military society. Introduction As humans, it is in our nature to feel comfortable and tend to be more daring when we are around the people that we know and can trust and rely on. Often you will see kids around the block pick fights with each other when either side have backups. With the right kind of back up, even a tiny kid will pick a fight with a larger kid given that he has his pals to help him fight if thing went wrong. This is something that would most likely not happen if the kid was alone. These kinds of social groups that humans have, and can rely on can be termed as primary groups. The term primary group was coined sixty years ago by a sociologist by the name Charles Cooley. In his book, “Social Organization” Cooley defined as primary group as follows (George, 1971): “By primary group I mean those characterized by intimate face-to-face association and cooperation.

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They are primary in several senses by chiefly in that they are fundamental in forming the social natures and ideas of the individual. The result of intimate association…is a certain fusion of individualities in a common whole, so that one’s very self, for many purposes at least, is the common life and purpose of the group. Perhaps the simplest way of describing this wholeness is by saying it is a “we”, it involves the sort of sympathy and mutual identification for which “we”, is the natural expression” (George, 1971). Cohesion on the other hand is the binding force that keeps these groups or units together. It goes hand in hand with a primary group as it is what gives the group or members a sense of community or belonging. The Primary Group and its Positive Influence on Operational Effectiveness.

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When you talk of military sociology, you are basically looking at the military as a social group full of people who interact with each other rather than the military organization that it is. When you study this group of people in a social context you will find individuals who have learnt and understand the importance of brotherhood amongst each other. You will find various sets or groups of soldiers who hangout together both on and off the war zones. These soldiers will all tell you that they are more willing to face danger with a small group of people that they know and trust rather than be amongst a larger group made up of people that they don’t know. The authors of the book “The American Soldier” came to the following two conclusions when discussing the importance of primary groups (George, 1971): It set and enforced certain standards of behaviors within the group It gave the members support and comfort in situations that they would otherwise not face on their own A key factor that makes these primary groups effective, and increase a soldier’s performance is the trust that these groups of people share amongst each other.

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As they gear up and load their weapons I preparation for war, most these soldiers tend to keep a positive mind of coming back home (Thompson et al, 2014). This positive spirit is derived from the idea that they can trust on their comrades to have their back in the battle field, and their leader to guide them accordingly. The military has proven to be amongst the few, if not the only, profession where relying and trusting on your leaders and comrades is very important. In assessing the reasons that made the soldiers keep on fighting in the field, it was found at the idea of not letting their units down was what kept them going. Having and being part of a primary group, therefore, seemed to play a major role in the lives of the soldiers.

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Cohesion and its Negative Influence on Operational Effectiveness As seen earlier cohesion is the idea that gives a person a sense of belonging within a group as it helps keep the group together. With a strong “cohesive bond”, a soldier will be willing to withstand the strains and horrors that they face when out in the battle fields (Riley, 2001). As seen from surveys carried o on military societies, the soldiers do what they do in the name of earning respect within they various cohesive units. They assume that what groups the soldiers form or whatever norm they come up with, it must be in line with the overall military values (Riley, 2001). In order to be accepted into a group, all the members, no matter how new they may be, have to conform to the group’s overall norms.

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When these norms are in line with the army values, then they are regarded as good, but, when they go against the values then it is only natural that they cause problems. It is not secret that U. S soldiers have always committed criminal acts across the globe in the name of fighting for a cause. This was thus a situation where group cohesion had resulted to a negative outcome. In summary, the following are some of the ways in which group cohesion plays a negative role in military performance (Riley, 2001): It forms values, attitudes, beliefs and norms that are obviously contrary to the Army’s. The group’s values, attitudes, beliefs and norms could change after prolonged combat or a significant emotional event. The group’s values, attitudes, beliefs and norms are close to the Army’s but not exactly what the organization wants.

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Reference George, A. Adams, B. Niven, W. Trust in military teams. In Major Gary Ivey et al (Eds. The human dimensions of operations: A personnel research perspective.

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