Solving the Gordian Knot: Achieving Efficacy in a Diversified Army

  • Colonel Chad Chasteen

Diversity presents a paradox. On one hand, it is a source of creativity and innovation contributing to competitive advantage. On the other hand, diversity can create social divisions which degrade team cohesion, communication, and performance. Increasing diversity, therefore, presents a proverbial Gordian knot, or seemingly unsolvable problem, for many organizations. Fortunately, some have found ways to cut through the cord, untangle the complexity, and achieve positive results, including increased trust, satisfaction, and productivity. With demographic diversity rising, the U.S. Army needs to better understand the potential challenges in order to align policies and programs to improve organizational effectiveness in the future force. The purpose of this research project is to discuss the benefits and burdens of diversity on team outcomes, evaluate the effectiveness of diversity training, assess the alignment of current DoD diversity initiatives, and offer recommendations to improve the diversity-performance relationship in the Army.