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Developing a Culture and Gender Inclusive Model of Military Professionalism

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Human Factors and Medicine

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and transition to civilian life, civicmilitary and international relations, cohesion, conduct, culture, diversity, gender, leadership, military identity, military professionalism, recruitment, retention, socialization


Unlike civilian professions, the military profession contains elements that are unique (National Defence, 2003; Sarkesian, 1981), such as the adherence of military duty, loyalty, integrity, courage (National Defence, 2003), and honour (Janowitz, 1960), and encompasses the society, military institution, and the individual soldier (Sarkesian, 1981). Various cultural aspects of the military, such as discipline, ceremonial displays and etiquette, and cohesion and esprit de corps (Burk, 2002; English, 2014), are derived from a military’s professional ethos and the relationship with the associated civil society (English, 2004). Additionally, members of an organization, such as the military, will derive their rules of conduct, impetuses, and norms from the ethos and doctrine formally espoused by that organization (English, 2004). Therefore, frameworks for professionalism play an important role in shaping cultural elements of the profession, but also in guiding the appropriate conduct and behaviour of members of the military. Interpretations and applications of professionalism have significant impacts on how military culture is shaped, sustained, and changed to adapt to changes in the security environment, whether nationally or internationally; including the expectations of its public supporters to meet operational requirements. Given the intended impact of ethos and doctrine, it is imperative for military leaders to understand how ethos and doctrine shape professional frameworks, which guide the conduct and behaviour of military members. Theories of military professionalism have been proposed (e.g., Abbot, 2014; Huntington, 1958; Janowitz, 1960; Sarkesian, 1981); however, no model has been developed to account for aspects of gender and diversity, such as the underlying socio-cultural aspects of the dominant male-oriented warrior framework (Pinch, 2004), cross-cultural applications, civic-military and international relations, and how leadership and socialization (Bannerjee, Jedwab, Thomas, & Soroka, 2011; Shamir, Zakay, Brainin, & Popper, 2000) play a role in member conduct and shaping military identity. Overall, research has shown that professional frameworks are associated with, influenced by, and impact numerous elements of military culture; however, there has yet to be a model of military professionalism, which accounts for these aspects, as well as gender and diversity implications, and can be used to monitor, measure, and assess this construct.


The objectives of the panel are to 1. review existing models, frameworks, and measures related to military professionalism; 2. propose culture and gender inclusive conceptual models and frameworks of military professionalism; 3. identify important concepts that could be further investigated; and 4. provide guidance to military leaders on the relationship of military professionalism with conduct, performance, and operational effectiveness.


• Theoretical, conceptual, and methodological research approaches for understanding military professionalism; • The relationship between military professionalism throughout the military career (from recruitment to transition to civilian life) and at different levels: o Individual (e.g., military identity, motivation, conduct, values); o Group/Team (e.g., unit cohesion, leadership, conduct, morale); o Organizational (e.g., effectiveness, leadership, workforce planning and management, recruitment, selection retention, professional military educational and training); and o Societal (e.g., civil-military relations, public support, international, inter-agency cooperation and collaboration). • The cross-cultural context (e.g., historical and current military political, economic, social, technological, environmental, legal - PESTEL) of military professionalism; • The influence of military socialization of members and the impact on member conduct; • Ensuring diversity and inclusion in the study and measurement of military professionalism (e.g., gender-based analysis +, gender-based implications); and • Appropriate methodologies for monitoring, measuring, and assessing military professionalism.

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