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Symposia

The following special symposia will be hosted in this year's conference:

Global Views on Military Performance: General Perspectives

Chaired by
Dr. Douglas Lindsay from the United States Air Force Academy
Dr. Allister MacIntyre & Danielle Charbonneau from the Royal Military College of Canada

The International Military Testing Association (IMTA), in collaboration with the Canadian Defence Academy Press, recently published the second volume in its Global Views series. The topic for the book was military performance. Specifically, the aim was to focus at the individual level and the factors that impact a military member’s performance. This symposium is the first of two symposiums offered on this important topic.
Part of the challenge with the topic of performance is that it has been examined in many different ways, from different perspectives, and at different levels (individual, team, organizational). While this approach can shed some light on the different facets that go into performance, it leaves the literature on performance a bit disjointed. That can make it difficult to understand how to approach the topic of performance in a military setting. In an effort to bring some clarity and understanding on this topic, this symposium brings together a group presenters that offer models, context, and approaches to the examination of performance. Through this symposium, we will shed light on successful ways to study, research, and measure performance.

 

Global Views on Military Performance: An Empirical Examination

Chaired by
Dr. Douglas Lindsay from the United States Air Force Academy
Dr. Allister MacIntyre & Danielle Charbonneau from the Royal Military College of Canada

This symposium is the second of two symposiums offered on this topic.
Military organizations have seen an increase in operational tempo as well as an increase in the range of missions they are required to perform. Unfortunately, this tempo and mission variance can have consequences for the organization but also the individual performance of the soldier. Since performance can be examined, studied, and measured in many different ways, it can be difficult to fully understand what is really meant by individual performance in a military setting. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together scholars and practitioners who have successfully examined performance from several different perspectives. The benefit to such an approach is that those attending the symposium can gain insights on how they might measure and assess performance in their particular organization.

 

Leading Effectively: How to Build Successful Cultures and Practices

Chaired by
Lt Col Daniel Watola from the United States Air Force Academy
Dr. Allister MacIntyre from the Royal Military College of Canada

The extant literature on leadership and organizational science is both immense and intimidating. While military research scientists and academics are the primary authors and readers of this vast body of work, their underlying intention is to transition what is known about the most effective ways to organize and lead to those charged with organizing and leading soldiers, sailors, and airmen. This transition is unlikely to occur when practitioners must read pages of theories devoid of practical advice on how to implement them. This symposium provides specific guidance to leaders on how to lead more effectively so they may solve their pressing problems, achieve desired outcomes, and accomplish assigned missions. It prevent four chapters from the thirteenth volume of the International Military Leadership Association Working Group’s annual International Perspectives on Leadership series. The selected presentations address how leaders can promote well-being, use power and influence to lead effectively, use communication to develop character, and apply gender and cultural perspectives to more effectively operate in new warfighting environments.

 

Countering Counter-Productivity in the Military

Chaired by
Wendy Darr, Ph.D., Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, Department of National Defence, Canada

Military organizations are distinguished from other organizations by an ethos that inculcates a common understanding of what it means to serve. Consequently, military professionalism embodies the values, character, and obligations expected in the military. Some of these pertain to discipline, legitimate exercise of authority, and loyalty, elements that are typically studied within the domain of counter-productive work behaviours (CWBs). This symposium showcases methodologically diverse research efforts aimed at studying counter-productivity in the military.
The first examination presents an historical account of cold war studies responding to the need to identify personnel with requisite characteristics for military service. The second presentation uses a qualitative approach to answer questions about the kinds of destructive leadership behaviours and subordinate coping exhibited in crisis situations. The third study defies the adequacy of mainstream theoretical models of ethical decision making and moral character in understanding decision making in a military context. The two final studies showcase efforts to develop integrity-based selection tools. These include the development of a personality-based measure of integrity (Canadian Armed Forces) and the development of a Situational Judgement Test of Integrity (Belgian Defense). Whether responding, answering, defying, or developing integrity-based tools, these unique approaches together paint a fuller understanding of efforts to counter counter-productivity in the military.

 

Advances in Military Personnel Selection: A Collaborative Effort

Chaired by
Wendy Darr, Ph.D. & Elliot Loh, Ph.D.
Director General Military Personnel Research & Analysis, Department of National Defence, Canada

Personnel selection, an already complex process in military organizations, is additionally challenged by emerging trends in society and technology. Some of these trends pertain to an increasingly diverse society, advances in technology, and the need to attract and select individuals whose values are aligned with those of the military profession. In 2017, an exploratory working group of representatives from various member and invited nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) identified three areas (diversity, on-line testing, and integrity testing) as deserving further attention in military personnel selection. A Research Task Group (RTG) has since been formed to explore and study challenges within these three interest areas.
This symposium showcases the work of the RTG thus far. It provides insight into the nature of the personnel selection challenges across NATO nations in the areas of diversity, on-line testing, and integrity assessment, discusses the approaches taken or to be used in addressing some of these challenges, and provides a glimpse into preliminary findings geared towards generating viable solutions to advance military personnel selection practices.

 

Measuring and Monitoring Resilience Throughout the Military and Police Career

Chaired by
Esther Oprins, Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research

Service members of armed forces and police participating in military missions and police operations are being confronted with mentally challenging circumstances. A considerable amount of them suffers from mental health problems potentially resulting in PTSD. The aim is to increase the operational effectiveness and sustainability of personnel in operational units during threatening circumstances and to decrease attrition during training and career. Therefore, service members should be psychologically resilient and capable of applying successful coping strategies in stressful circumstances. The Military Resilience Monitor (MRM) has been developed for measuring and monitoring resilience throughout the whole military and police career, from selection and training until deployment.
This symposium provides an overview of the results of studies employing MRM in different phases of the career cycle. The predictive validity of the INSPIRE Resilience Scale, a selection instrument based on MRM, has been investigated in longitudinal research in armed forces of six countries and the Dutch Police Academy with similar criterion data obtained in training, using GHQ-12 and a developed ‘performance and resilience rating scale’. More longitudinal research, also using MRM, is conducted to gain insight in the effects of resilience resources during deployment on (absence of) mental health problems five years after deployment. Research on buffering effects of resilience on the impact of being confronted with mentally challenging incidents in police training has been conducted. Finally, physiological measures of resilience, using gaming and simulation, have been validated by using MRM in order to investigate whether the trait construct can predict physiological state responses.

 

Multidimensionality of Leadership in the Military - a Multinational Perspective

Chaired by
Tzvetanka Dobreva-Martinova, Department of National Defence, Canada

As a foundation of the military institution, leadership is at the core of operational effectiveness in the increasingly complex security environment. This symposium will present ongoing work related to multiple facets of leading in an operational and organizational context.
Dr. Melinda Key-Roberts will describe a military framework for inclusion, developed by the U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, and will present a data-driven measure of inclusive leadership, along with initial data about how it relates to outcomes such as psychological safety and commitment. Next, Mr. Jan Heimdal will discuss a series of studies investigating value dimensions in the Norwegian Armed Forces, how they differ between branches, geographical areas, and gender, and how they relate to general mental ability, personality, selection outcomes, cultural intelligence, and service records, along with takeaways for leadership on operations and in garrison. Ms. Ann Rubens Mortensen will present on developing military leaders for effectively leading in complex and ambiguous contexts. Dr. Sara Rubenfeld will present results from a qualitative study examining the perspectives and experiences of senior non-commissioned members leading through a time of culture change in the Canadian Armed Forces. Finally, the focus will turn to those charged with developing military leaders, as Dr. Carla Sowinski reveals, through an analysis of four institutions, how leaders of military colleges can foster well-being among their staff and faculty.

 

Examining the Assessment of Vocational Interests in the U.S. Military

Chaired by
Christopher D. Nye, Michigan State University
Cristina Kirkendall, United States Army Research Institute

There is a long history of research on vocational interests in the applied psychological literature. This research suggests that individuals will be more satisfied with and successful in their job when they are doing work that they are interested in. As a result, several branches of the U.S. military have begun considering the use of vocational interest measures to help Soldiers identify military occupations that they may be interested in. This symposium brings together four presentations that will discuss these efforts and the use of vocational interest assessments in the services.
The first presentation will focus on recent efforts by the U.S. Army to develop a new measure of vocational interests that can be used to assign Soldiers to military occupations. The second and third presentations will then discuss efforts by the U.S. Air Force and Navy to develop and validate their own measures of vocational interests that can be used to recruit individuals for occupations in these services. Finally, the fourth presentation will discuss recent efforts by the U.S. Department of Defense to create a career exploration program that incorporates vocational interests and can be used to provide prospective applicants with information about jobs across the military services.

 

Competency-Based Management in a Canadian Armed Forces Context

Chaired by
Ms. K. Rankin, Department of National Defence, Canada
Major M. Berlinguette, & Major M. MacArthur, Canadian Armed Forces
Dr. K. Rounding, Department of National Defence, Canada

The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is on the precipice of adopting a competency-based management approach to human resource (HR) systems which is fundamental to the evolution of CAF HR practices. In this symposium we bridge the academic-practitioner gap by discussing the integration of the CAF competency dictionary (CD) and the implementation of the CAF competency model, which operationalizes the Leader Development Framework as the theoretical and doctrinal cornerstone to align various HR systems, namely career planning, personnel appraisal, and professional development. To this end, the CAF is employing the CD in a way that spans the spectrum of a CAF member’s career, and is creating Leader Profiles which serves to guide the selection and professional development of optimal incumbents for key senior positions. Serving to renew CAF members’ trust in the CAF personnel appraisal system, the CAF undertook a comprehensive review of best practices in personnel appraisal for large organizations. Linking best practice to design, the CAF is currently developing a new competency-based personnel appraisal system, which is based on the standardized behavioural indicators contained in the CAF CD. Aligned with the academic literature on competency-based training, it is imperative that the CAF apply the competency standards outlined in the CD consistently across HR systems. Specifically, personnel appraisal and training assessments should identify competence along the same conceptual domains to ensure alignment and reduce variability. To facilitate successful adoption of this competency-based approach, several recommendations regarding the implementation of competency-based training and how to align various HR systems are proffered.

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