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ISSN: 2167-0374
Journal of Defense Management
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Enhancing Military Leadership through Business Management Techniques

Grewal DS*
Desh Bhagat University, Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab, India
*Corresponding Author : Grewal DS
Desh Bhagat University
Mandi Gobindgarh, Punjab, India
Tel: 9878029035
E-mail: [email protected]
Received February 22, 2014; Accepted May 12, 2014; Published June 5, 2014
Citation: Grewal DS (2014) Enhancing Military Leadership through Business Management Techniques. J Def Manag 4:117. doi: 10.4172/2167-0374.1000117
Copyright: © 2014 Grewal DS. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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The Business and Corporate Leadership initially built up its theories from military knowledge and the initial business strategists were made by Military Generals. Certain techniques like ABC analysis were adopted by the business during world war. Gradually the corporate world developed its own theories and now it is leading the world. The military has been rather slower to pick up or develop its own new strategies and techniques. With the technologies leading and the knowledge management to the fore, now is the time to evaluate these for adopting some of these to enhance military systems specially the military leadership. Using the techniques of corporate world will help the military in enhancement of its leadership if systematically and logically applied. Some of the business management techniques are evaluated here for military leadership.


The Business and Corporate Leadership initially built up its theories from military knowledge and the initial business strategists were made by Military Generals. Certain techniques like ABC analysis were adopted by the business during world war. Gradually the corporate world developed its own theories and now it is leading the world. The military has been rather slower to pick up or develop its own new strategies and techniques. With the technologies leading and the knowledge management to the fore, now is the time to evaluate these for adopting some of these to enhance military systems specially the military leadership. Using the techniques of corporate world will help the military in enhancement of its leadership if systematically and logically applied. Some of the business management techniques are evaluated here for military leadership.

Business management; Military leadership; Techniques; Enhancement

The Business and Corporate Leadership initially built up their theories from military knowledge. With the changing workplaces of industrial revolutions in the 18th and 19th centuries, military theory and practice contributed approaches to managing the newly popular factories. In the army barracks and in the mass coordination of men in the battlefield are to be found the prototype or regimentation of the factory-as both Marx and Weber noted [1]. As a formal discipline, operational research originated in the efforts of military planners during World War II. In the decades after war, the techniques began to be applied more widely to problems in business, industry and society. Some ancient military texts have been cited for lessons that civilian managers can gather. For example Chinese General Sun Tzu in the 6th Century BC, The Art of War, recommends being aware of and acting on strengths and weaknesses of both a managers organization and the foes [2]. Military strategy books such as The Art of War by Sun Tzu, On War by von Clausewitz, and The Red Book by Mao Zedong became instant business classics. From Sun Tzu they learned the tactical side of military strategy and specific tactical prescriptions. From Von Clausewitz they learned the dynamic and unpredictable nature of military strategy. From Mao Zedong they learned the principles of guerrilla warfare. The concept Philip certain techniques like ABC analysis were adopted by the business during world war. A concerted effort started in the 1980s when some business strategists realized that there was a vast knowledge base stretching back thousands of years that they had barely examined. They turned to military strategy for guidance. Kotler [3] was a well-known proponent of marketing warfare strategy. The other main marketing warfare books were:

• Business War Games by Barrie James [4]

• Marketing by Al Ries Warfare and Jack Trout [5]

• Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts [6]

Goria [7], mentioned business warfare strategies as following:

Offensive marketing warfare strategies - are used to secure competitive strategies; market leaders, runner-ups or struggling competitors are usually attacked.

Defensive marketing warfare strategies - are used to defend competitive advantages; lessen risk of being attacked, decrease effects of attacks, strengthen position.

Flanking marketing warfare strategies - Operate in areas of little importance to the competitor.

Guerrilla marketing Warfare strategies are attack, retreat, hide, then do it again, and again, until the competitor moves on to other markets.

Deterrence Strategies - Deterrence is a battle won in the minds of the enemy. You convince the competitor that it would be prudent to keep out of your markets.

Sequential Strategies - A strategy that consists of a series of sub-strategies that must all be successfully carried out in the right order.

Alliance Strategies - The use of alliances and partnerships to build strength and stabilize situations.

Encirclement strategy - Envelop the opponents position.

Cumulative strategies - A collection of seemingly random operations that, when complete, obtain your objective.

Leapfrog strategy - Avoid confrontation by bypassing enemy or competitive forces.

• The type of warfare includes attack, defense and withdrawal.

• Forms of attacks are recommended as below:

Pre-emptive strike - Attack before you are attacked.

Frontal Attack - A direct head-on confrontation.

Flanking Attack - Attack the competitors flank.

• Types of defense are defined as below:

Position Defense - The erection of fortifications.

Mobile defense - Constantly changing positions.

Counter-offensive - When you are under attack, launch a counter-offensive at the attacker’s weak point.

Flank positioning - Strengthen your flank. In strategic withdrawal he recommends retreat and re-groups so you can live to fight another day [7].

Approaching to the advantages and disadvantages of various strategies, Companies typically use many strategies concurrently, some defensive, some offensive, and always some deterrents. According to the business literature of the period, offensive strategies were more important that defensive one. Defensive strategies were used when needed, but an offensive strategy was requisite. Only by offensive strategies, were market gains made. Defensive strategies could at best keep you from falling too far behind [7].

The marketing warfare literature also examined leadership and motivation, intelligence gathering, types of marketing weapons, logistics, and communications.

By the turn of the century marketing warfare strategies had gone out of favor. It was felt that they were limiting. There were many situations in which non-confrontational approaches were more appropriate. The Strategy of the Dolphin was developed in the mid-1990s to give guidance as to when to use aggressive strategies and when to use passive strategies. A variety of aggressiveness strategies were developed.

Gradually the corporate world developed its own theories and now it is leading the world. The military has been rather slower to pick up or develop its own new strategies and techniques. With the technologies leading and the knowledge management to the fore, now is the time to evaluate these for adopting some of these to enhance military systems specially the military leadership. Using the techniques of corporate world will help the military in enhancement of its leadership if systematically and logically applied.

These theories though originally adopted from Defense strategies using the same words as attack, defense withdrawal; yet the spirit of these theories has been changed according to the requirement of the business. The Leadership styles, motivation systems, marketing strategies, weapon and techniques, logistics and communication systems in the defense systems can be modified according to the new theories of management. For example strategy of offensive defense must be given priority over passive defense in these changed times. Immediate but calculated reaction is more paying than the delayed thought out reaction. Maintenance of deterrence saves wars hence less expensive.
Some Corporate Techniques for Leadership

Some of the popular corporate leadership techniques given in corporate management standard text books are listed follows:
Individual and group behavioral analysis techniques

• Theory Y

• Theory Z

• Diversification

• Participative management

• Management by walking around

• Total quality management

• T groups

• Work groups

• Work teams

• Quality circles
Functional job analysis technique

• Job description

• Job specification
Job analysis techniques

• Questionnaire

• Observation

• Interview

• Critical incident

• Job performance

• Position analysis questionnaire

• Management position description questionnaire (MPDQ)
Job design techniques

• Job simplification

• Job rotation

• Job enlargement

• Job enrichment
De-jobbing techniques

• Flatter organizations

• Work teams

• Boundary less organization

• Re-engineering
Training techniques

• Job Instruction Training (JIT)

• Coaching

• Mentoring

• Position rotation

• Apprenticeship

• Committee assignments

• Vestibule training

• Internship

• Role playing

• Conferences

• Programmed learning

• Audio visual techniques

• Computer based techniques

• Distance and internet based techniques
Training evaluation techniques

• Experimental and control group techniques

• Longitudinal or time series analysis

• Questionnaire and structured interviews

• Cost benefit analysis
Motivational techniques

• Management by objectives

• Job satisfaction

• Job enlargement

• Job enrichment

• Job rotation
Performance appraisal techniques

• Confidential report

• Graphic scales

• Straight ranking

• Paired comparisons

• Grading system

• Forced distribution

• Check list method

• Critical incident method

• Free essay method

• Group appraisal

• Field review

• Nominations

• Work sample tests

• Assessment centers

Human resource accounting

• Behaviorally anchored rating scales

• Management by objectives

• 360 degree performance appraisals

• Computerized and web based performance appraisals
Corporate performance appraisals techniques

• Ratio analysis

• Fund flow statement

• Cash flow statement

• Common size statement

• Economic value added

• Market capitalization

• Turning per share

• Market value added

• Balanced score card

• Parta system of Birla

• ABB balance score card

• The European Business Excellency Model

• Total business rebalance model

• Divisional perform measurement

• Strategic perform measurement for performance analysis
Stress bursting techniques

• Keep a diary to note stress causing elements

• Talk your heart out

• Learn how to relax- stretch your body to relax, take time out for entertainment

• Exercise regularly

• Plan breaks in your day

• Avoid smoking alcohol and drugs

• De-clutter

• Think positive

• Change stress causing habits

• Meditate regularly
Techniques for managing ethics

• Top management to lead by example

• Code of ethics

• Ethics committees

• Ethics training programs
Techniques for personnel research

• Historical studies

• Case studies

• Survey method

• Statistical studies

• Mathematical models

• Stimulation method

Phil Harkins [8] gave out the top ten leadership techniques for building high-performing teams as given below:

• Define a very clear picture of the future - a vision for the team

• Be genuine, even if it means lowering your guard

• Ask good questions

• Talk about things - even the hard things

• Follow through on commitments

• Let others speak first

• Listen

• Face up to non-performing players

• Have fun, but never at others expense

• Be confident and dependable

Brooks et al. [9] gave out the leadership techniques that support group facilitation. Lowelyn Saavedra too gave out techniques in increasing employee motivation. Syks [10] has also recommended certain leadership techniques. These are summed up below:

Enhancement of Military Leadership by Corporate Techniques- These Corporate techniques which help to enhance the military leadership qualities are discussed below:
Individual & group behavioral analysis techniques

The most important behavioral characteristic for leadership in Military is positive attitude as given out in Theory Y of McGregor. Leadership must develop and utilize the natural instincts of individuals to work as a natural requirement. This is more so in Indian ethics where work is considered as the primary religion (karma hi parmodharma). The leadership must set the mission, vision, aims and objectives clearly and commit the subordinates to them. Subordinates will exercise self-direction and self-control fort the attainment of objectives to which they are committed. Leadership will certainly be surprised at the innovation and creative decisions of the subordinates once they are allotted the independent tasks. To ensure that subordinates understand and commit to responsibility they must be provided with the required resources and working conditions. The working conditions should provide social cohesion, job security, speedy decision making, individual autonomy, and application of innovation and creativity as per Theory Z of William Ouchi. Participative management encourages responsibility, accountability, innovation and creativity. If the task is larger proportions than to be handled by an individual, proper work teams and work groups should be made. Army has the practice of patrols and ghatak parties operationalized earlier. The team and group system needs to be further strengthened to take the load off the top leaderships. Quality circles are of great help in solving the problems not only at equipment level but also at administrative and operational level. The management by walking around facilitates spot decisions and is of great applicability in Military. The leadership must ensure that they are duly rewarded on completion of the tasks. The concept of Total Quality Management has been talked about well in military but rarely applied in true spirit. If it is applied it is limited to production and repair and maintenance to a limited scale. This concept needs to be seriously taken up for the optimum utilization of the military and bringing in quality at all levels.
Functional & job analysis and job designing techniques

To ensure responsibility and accountability, work simplification, setting standards for performance and providing support to activities, it is very essential that all jobs are given right job specifications and job descriptions. The operations, duties and organizational aspects of the jobs in order to provide job specifications and job descriptions must be researched well after due thought, experience and observation. To obtain the detailed knowledge of the job Questionnaire, Observation, Interview, evaluation of critical incidents and job performance analysis are essential even in the military. In questionnaire, position analysis questionnaire used to obtain the information input, mental processes needed to perform a job, work output under particular conditions, relationship effects of the various people involved in the job, job content etc. will be required to be acquired statistically. For analyzing managerial jobs standard management position description questionnaire for obtaining information inputs regarding management position description factors like operational, personnel and financial planning, coordination of other organizational units and personnel, internal control, responsibilities of other related individuals, relationship with insiders and outsiders, autonomy of actions, approval of financial commitments, staff service, supervision, complexity and stress, advanced financial and operational responsibility and broad personnel responsibility can be prepared and utilized.

Job designing must involve job simplification, rather than creating complications. To ensure broader knowledge, future development Job rotation techniques must be planned and implemented. To avoid boredom especially in routine jobs and to check decreasing job satisfaction job enrichment and job enrichment must be ensured. At present the increasing suicidal tendencies found among the soldiers are due to lack of job satisfaction and improper job designing. In this context it is very important that the jobs are designed to ensure security, safety, entertainment and job satisfaction. For example the individual sentries at night are directly exposed to boredom. Pairing and occasional position shifting, routine breaking pattern would help reduction of boredom and job satisfaction, security and safety.

Though military has given out job specifications and descriptions in Defense Service Regulations but these have become outdated and occasionally do not match the job requirements. It is in this context that job designing must be done on scientific line as is being done in corporate world.
Training and training evaluation techniques

Presently training in military is too stereotypic primarily based on classroom and field exercises, the techniques which have become obsolete long since. New methods like Job Instruction Training (JIT), Coaching, Mentoring, Position Rotation, Apprenticeship, Committee Assignments, Vestibule training, Simulation Training, Internship, Role playing, Project Management techniques, Conferences, Programmed learning, training with Audio visual techniques, and computer/ internet based techniques and distance learning are used in corporate sector. Virtual classroom teaching has become the order of the day. Similarly, Training Evaluation Technique like Experimental and control group techniques, Longitudinal or time series analysis, Questionnaire and structured interviews, Cost benefit analysis are providing quality evaluation. Evaluation on internet and interviews on phone or through teleconferencing are occasionally witnessed in corporate sectors. All these methods can be suitably tried and applied in training and evaluation of subordinates at different levels. For example simulation training and vestibule training help in learning driving of vehicles and aircraft more easily, with less effort and with lesser costs.
Motivational techniques

Research in Motivation has been extensive and various theories help us in motivating our subordinates and teams more effectively. Management by objectives has been extensively applied at higher echelons but has not yet proliferated at lower level. Job enlargement, job enrichment and job rotation remain important for increasing job satisfaction. As stated earlier every individual is keen to work if it provides him due satisfaction. Routine and repetitive work is usually boring and the output gradually gets reduced in routine, boring and repetitive jobs. In militarily about 70% jobs are of this nature. There is a re-look needed into this. Making entertainment as part of the programmes is an essential requirement. Similarly giving challenging assignments also creates interest.
Performance appraisal techniques

The performance appraisal system in military is primarily based on annual confidential reports system based on nine point quality assessment system. This is too rigid, parochial and subjective. There are numerous methods available like Graphic scales, Straight ranking, Paired comparisons, Grading system, Forced distribution, Check list method, Critical incident method, Free essay method, Group appraisal, Field review, Nominations, Work sample tests, Assessment centers, Human Resource accounting, Behaviorally anchored rating scales, Management by objectives, 360 degree performance appraisals and Computerized and web based performance appraisals. It will be better if multiple assessment system is introduced, judging by differing methodologies and from different people [11]. The evaluation by subordinates can be added as is being done by the corporate world to assess the relationships.
Corporate performance appraisals techniques

Assessment of corporate achievements periodically is essential to know the strengths and weaknesses. The same should be done in case of military. Various techniques presently being used in corporate sector are Ratio Analysis, Fund Flow Statement, Cash Flow Statement, Common Size Statement, Economic Value Added, Market Capitalization, Turning Per Share, Market Value Added, Balanced Score Card, Parta System of Birla, ABB Balance Score Card, The European Business Excellency Model, Total Business Rebalance Model, Divisional Perform Measurement and Strategic Perform Measurement for performance analysis. Though most of the terminologies are business centric yet some of these can be effectively employed in military as well; especially where the output is directly related to finance. Fund flow statement and cash flow budgeting are applicable to all military units and specially the unit run canteens, construction sector and equipment purchase, where other techniques can also be selectively employed. These will help the commanders in better decision making [12-17].
Stress bursting techniques

The increasing number of suicides, heart attacks and stress related diseases make military to think of stress bursting techniques being adopted by corporate sectors. Military has the advantage of regular exercise but at senior level this system has been given a go by mentioning of excessively busy work schedule. Similarly the earlier tendencies to have regular breaks in a day are also being done away with. The rigid discipline system does not allow the subordinates to talk their heart out and any outburst is taken as offensive and breach of discipline. Unnecessary tensions cause panic causing further tensions. Though alcohol and smoking is being publically banned military is using it as stress buster which is wrong. Writing habits are not inculcated in the subordinates to ensure that nothing wrong is recorded against the seniors. Though thinking positive is the policy but is rarely applied. Religion is considered as a drill rather than as a meditation exercises. All these wrong habits must be discarded adopting the corporate way of life of keeping diary, talking ones heart out, learn to stretch and relax even in office or hard job, exercising regularly, de-cluttering, having regular breaks from work, always thinking positive and meditating regularly.
Risk management techniques

Risk in military as in the corporate world is continuous. Managing the risk through Action Research Method is one of the better ways. This is done by identifying the risks and its detailed assessment and to develop strategies like Retention, Avoidance, Control, or Transfer.
Techniques for managing ethics

The ethics in military is as important as in corporate world. The Top Management must lead by example. A Code of ethics must be accepted by each unit and sub unit and strictly followed. An Ethics Committee should be constituted at unit level and above. Ethics Training Programs must be conducted to train troops at all levels.
Techniques for personnel research

There has not been enough research in Human Resources Management in military. The techniques of corporate management in research are applicable to the military as well. Historical studies, Case studies, Survey method, Statistical studies, Mathematical Models and Stimulation Method; all can be equally applied in military [18].
Security techniques

At present India’s immediate focus is on elimination of terrorism by keeping its border fully protected and interior safe. The Kargil intrusion by Pakistan and the terrorists-attack of 26/11 have revealed that India does not have adequate border security. As the border areas which include land waters and sky is too vast and there are too many gaps for the infiltrators to enter, we have to develop a nearly fool proof system. For this the Indian Military strategies are accordingly modified. Indian Army is developing itself technologically to build itself into a network centric organization which will reduce the time of action. And it is in the process of adopting a new approach with convergence of information technology, information system and telecom for developing a digital battlefield to manage information available and utilizing it in planning operations. Aspects like information warfare and intelligence will be integrated into the information system. The thrust is on managing information like operational research and system analysis which is part of perspective planning. India has good developed IT industry and necessary expertise to have electronic means of intelligence. Hence security of the nation has to be so planned by the leaders that no intruder dares to enter as has been done earlier. Use of mobile, frequent telephone calls and other sources of information sources used by the intruders are to be taken care of. The corporate world is too advanced in the security techniques. The leadership in military must plan well in advance and acquire the required systems from the above given equipments. These can be selectively chosen as per user requirements.

Much management theory has thus military origins, probably because of efficiency and effectiveness is essential for success of warfare. The concepts of unity of command, line of command, staff advisors and division of work all can be traced back to Alexander the Great or even earlier to Lao Tzu. Military is organized, developed and maintained on a much systematized management. The Defense Officers are taught the very fundamentals of management at the initial stages and gradually groomed to take over commands on the basis of advanced management theories. Management thus forms the part of the syllabus in most of their strategic, operational and tactical courses. The new techniques are passed on to them through seminars and conferences. For example the cybernetic systems in defense management applications have become an essential course in view of the threat of cyber wars and cyber security management is one the subject in the academies. Techno savvy generals are more effective than field lions. Major war is fought before the actual war; hence preparations of war are much more important than the actual war. Continuous nonstop collection, collation, interpretation and dissemination of information have become very essential now. Cyber security must be essentially maintained; cyber wars well planned and executed. War can be won on cyber systems too if intelligently planned. Propaganda war is as important for management as for defense. Introduction of Defense Management at Brigadier level is one such attempt. However, the lag between the new theories development and applications in defense services remains a cause of concern. This is so because serious research in defense management has not been introduced in defense services which are the need of the hour. The corporate management is moving faster with relatively new theories; defense management must keep a regular tag at it being a part of learning systems in universities. The techniques used in management are as important for defense services to adopt. Individual & Group Behavioral Analysis Techniques, training systems and training evaluation techniques, risk management, Performance Appraisals Techniques security techniques, stress bursting techniques, techniques for Personnel research, ethics management all equally apply to defense services. The recent extensive research on stress nesting techniques and on yoga systems is an example of the new fields of research adopted by defense services based on new management techniques. Corporate management systems have a lot for defense management to learn; it must thus be a part of the overall study in management.

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