Leading Diversity in a High Performance, High Reliability Organization: The US Army as a Case Study

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The link between effective leadership and full utilization of the workforce is well documented. The US Army, while not free from ongoing problems with discrimination, bias, and prejudice, stands alone as one of the most highly integrated and simultaneously highly performing American institutions. To look at the US Army is to see the face of America’s diversity at all levels. The US Army is a microcosm of highly diverse people functioning with a very high level of cohesion and teamwork. The progress the US Army has made since the 1970’s in moving women and minorities into positions of leadership and power still outperforms the private sector. Anecdotal and statistical evidence suggest the US Army’s approach to leading diversity may be adaptable to society as a whole. This workshop will focus on the organizational value structures and the specific leadership competencies that support the US Army’s progress in leading a highly diverse workforce. Close attention will be paid to the applicability of successful US Army concepts to the private sector, as well as the transferability of leadership concepts. America’s corporations are not unaware of the military’s accomplishments in leadership training, and the Army in particular, has a long history of leading the way in social change and integration.


Keywords: US Army, Leadership, Leadership Competencies, Diversity, High Performance, High Reliability Organization, Teamwork
Stream: Race and Racism
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Renee Yuengling

Senior Diversity and Inclusion Fellow, Human Capital Solutions, ICF
Fairfax, VA, USA

Dr. Yuengling has 10 years of consulting experience in organizational behavior and the strategic management of human capital and 17 years of international financial experience. Dr. Yuengling is the author of Leading Across Diversity, an upcoming book on the leadership competencies required to effectively lead a diverse workforce. She has provided strategic assistance and consulting to a broad spectrum of organizations on the impact of diversity on high performance, strategic alignment, leadership, and cross-cultural competencies. Her expertise also includes workforce planning, leadership development, succession planning, performance management, and the effective management of diverse workforces. Dr. Yuengling has developed and delivered training sessions to U.S. and international audiences on managing diversity for high performance environments, including cross-cultural communications, multi-cultural teams, and the creation of inclusive work environments. In addition, she possesses significant experience advising the U.S. military on cross-cultural leadership, communication, and followership issues.

Ref: D09P0161