An organisational culture approach to improve military-civilian relations at The South African Military Academy

Jacobs, Noel Mkhululi (2012-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


The primary focus of this study is to look at the interplay of the military and academic cultures at the South African Military Academy (SAMA). The question was raised about the nature of these two conflicting subcultures within the SAMA faculty, some avoidable damage that is being done, and ways to overcome the conflict for the future. Research data obtained from interviewing a sample of the SAMA members was used to investigate whether the two subcultures, which appear each to have a different ethos, can complement one another and how they define and shape the organisational culture of the institution. Findings from this study confirmed the existence of conflict between the academic and military culture and showed that this conflict has historical origins. It was further shown that part of the conflict arises from the tendency of the military culture to impose itself over the academic culture. The study revealed that this conflict also affects the civilian-military relations amongst the staff members, which impacts on the staff morale and organisational performance. It was found that ineffective organisational communication of the Academy was partly the source of this organisational culture and that the strengthening of an effective organisational communication particularly on the part of senior management of the Academy could go a long way towards creating an inclusive organisational culture that accommodates and encourages the coexistence of both the academic and military subcultures. The study concluded that peaceful coexistence of both these subcultures will lead to healthier relations between the civilian and uniformed members and to the SAMA as a whole. Recommendations for further consideration and action by the Military Academy were given.

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