The U.S. Navy is in the throes of a major cultural transformation: integrating women into traditional male warrior roles. To be successful in this undertaking, naval leaders—both military and civilian—must understand and respect the Navy’s culture and work to communicate their vision to its members.
Fifteen years ago, the study of cultures was left largely to anthropologists and dealt primarily with regions, nations, tribes, and religions. Not until relatively recent times has the existence of cultures within major business entities and other large organizations been considered worthy of serious study by behavioral scientists and students of organizational theory and management. Many case studies now in use in graduate schools of business administration deal with ways leaders have used organizational cultures to facilitate desired change—or, in some cases, to preserve traditional ways of doing things in the face of significant challenge or turmoil that threatened the status quo.