Featured Article: Why We Can’t All Just Get Along…
Why We Can’t All Just Get Along: Overcoming Personal Barriers to
Inter-Organizational Effectiveness and Finding Your Personal Coupler for Success
by William J. Davis, Jr.
DoD placed Pakistan and India in separate geographic combatant commands in order to foster U.S. military relationships with each country, given their history of tension and conflict. In contrast, State placed Pakistan and India in the same regional bureau because of political-military issues between the two nations, as well as other crosscutting issues that affect the region as a whole.
– GAO Report on Interagency Collaboration,
July 11, 2011
Please don’t you rock my boat, cause I don’t want my boat to be rockin’.
— Bob Marley
The first quote above illustrates the differing cultural lenses through which organizations will view the same problem. However, as in the case of the India-Pakistan situation, it will take the resources and talents of a multitude of stakeholders working in unity to realize the interests of not only the U.S., but a world full of stakeholders. A question remains, however, as to how stakeholders with such dissimilar views, even though these organizations are within a single government can work together to solve complex problems. The second quote above embodies the spirit of most people in an organization – they learn to behave in certain ways and are reluctant to readily accept new ways. Increasing effectiveness when disparate inter/intra-government organizations must work together to solve problems is not easy. Many solutions have been offered, from increasing organizational cross-pollination within the United States government by enforcing Goldwater-Nichols-type legislation upon the executive branch, to standing up centers for inter-organizational cooperation…
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William J. Davis, Jr., Ph.D., is an associate professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He previously served as an associate professor at the Joint Forces Staff College, National Defense University. He holds a Ph.D. in Academic Leadership and a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Educational Supervision and Administration from Old Dominion University.
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