Trust and Dialogue in the Army Profession
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Trust and Dialogue in the Army Profession

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James M. Lewis
113 g
246x189x3 mm

Trust is an essential element that forms the core of the professional military ethic. As a foundational concept, trust, from an organizational perspective, facilitates the lasting commitment to meet strategic aims. Trust involves the expectation that the object of trust will behave in a favorable manner, or at least a non-harmful manner, and includes the willingness of a person to be vulnerable to the actions of another based on this expectation. Trust binds the Army together as a cohesive unit. However, internal to the Army profession, defined more directly as the Officer Corps, there is the perception of serious erosion of trust perhaps reaching dangerously dysfunctional levels. The mechanisms and building blocks for trust revolve around communication and relationships. In order to build relationships that foster trust, one must engage in communication. However, for the Army profession, the concept of communication is misunderstood. More importantly, the Army as a profession does not truly understand the concept of dialogue. This lack of understanding has allowed the perceived erosion of trust amongst the Officer Corps. This monograph seeks to address this issue by defining trust and the profession. It identifies the source of the perceived trust erosion within the profession. It provides a more complete definition of communication involving the concepts of discourse, dialogue and discussion, emphasizing the use of dialogue. It shows how the Army in attempting to build a learning organization, has failed to include dialogue in its efforts. Finally, this monograph provides recommendations on how the Army profession can seek to rebuild and sustain trust in the future through these concepts.