The federal government is the single largest energy consumer in the country and the U.S Department of Defense (DoD) is the leading contributor (Velasquez, 2015). For the DoD, while technology is critical to energy usage in operations, user behavior and energy awareness also significantly impact the amount of energy used (Baskin, 2014). Any change to how the military uses energy has momentous implications simply because it uses so much of it — roughly the same amount of power annually as the state of West Virginia (Mooney, 2015). Human behavior is an essential and frequently overlooked element in achieving aggressive Federal building performance goals, especially for reducing consumption of energy, water, and materials (Wolfe, 2014).
The general business problem is cultural behavioral norms in military organizations are not directed towards saving energy in daily operations. The District of Columbia Air National Guard installed new energy efficient technology throughout the organization, but still failed to meet federal energy reduction goals in both fiscal year 2015 and 2016. The specific business problem is the cultural behavior in the District of Columbia Air National Guard seems to lack the motivation and commitment to save energy to meet federal energy goals.
The purpose of this research study was to hopefully motivate personnel in the D.C. Air National Guard to become committed to saving energy through cultural behavioral change. To identify potential solutions, the approach will use the mixed-methods paradigm and will be primarily qualitative. This approach involves a first phase of quantitative data analysis on a previous unit energy survey, followed by a second phase of qualitative information collection and analysis that builds on the results of the first quantitative phase (Creswell, 2009). The findings of this research will assist other military organizations struggling to meet federal energy goals due to the lack of motivation and commitment to save energy.
This research will fill a gap in understanding how to reduce energy consumption in military organizations by focusing on methods for changing workplace behaviors. This project is unique because there is a lack of research for improving energy conservation cultures within military organizations. The intended audience is military organizations, but the research findings can be applied to other types of organizations interested in decreasing energy consumption through cultural change.
Energy is becoming a larger portion of the Air Force budget so it can pose a financial risk to the unit’s ability to plan, develop and acquire technologies and equipment necessary to sustain air, space, and cyberspace superiority (USAF, 2013). Establishing a vibrant energy culture addresses the non-technical and non-financial barriers to achieving potentially available savings (Wising, 2015).Through this research, military personnel can gain the knowledge needed to improve workplace attitudes towards energy conservation and develop innovative methods for saving energy in everyday operations.
The main question for the study was: why do cultural behavioral norms in a military organization impact energy consumption? This question expanded to several other questions:
RQ1. Why is energy wasted in military organizations?
RQ2. How does an organization’s culture impact energy consumption?
RQ3. Why should personnel in the organization be motivated to save energy?
Nature of Study
This study will utilize mixed-methods, primarily qualitative research. Using mixed methods research within the limits of this study will expand and strengthen the study in facilitating change in cultural behavioral norms within the organization. A sequential exploratory strategy approach to mixed-methods research will be utilized to study the energy conservation culture within the D.C. Air National Guard. This approach involves a first phase of quantitative data analysis, followed by a second phase of qualitative information collection and analysis that builds on the results of the first quantitative phase (Creswell, 2009). Quantitative data from the 113th Wing Energy Conservation Survey conducted by the D.C. Air National Guard Environmental Section will be analyzed and afterwards a focus group will be conducted by volunteers in the unit to obtain qualitative information. The analysis should assist in determining how energy conservation can improve through efficient changes in cultural behavioral norms within the organization.
1) Dr. Heitner – You indicated that changes to the military’s energy use can have momentus implications. What are these implications and how are they problematic? What is the negative impact or adversity?
Correction – Addressed in the “Significance”
2) Dr. Heitner – The general business problem as you’ve described it is a situation: “cultural behavioral norms in military organizations are not directed towards saving energy in daily operations.” You need to make a case for why it’s problematic, how, and for whom? With what negative consequences? You focused on the benefits “Establishing a vibrant energy culture addresses the non-technical and non-financial barriers to achieving potentially available savings (Wising, 2015)” but not the detriments.
Correction – Added “The District of Columbia Air National Guard installed new energy efficient technology throughout the organization, but still failed to meet federal energy reduction goals in both fiscal year 2015 and 2016.” and relocated “Establishing a vibrant energy culture addresses the non-technical and non-financial barriers to achieving potentially available savings (Wising, 2015)”.
3) Dr. Heitner – Whereas Delphi studies are future-oriented, case studies focus on describing or exploring what currently exists. How might you address this misalignment?
Correction – Reworded primary question and created 3 sub-questions.
4) Dr. Heitner – Focus group questions should not be included in the research questions section. You could draft some research subquestions that reflect subareas of focus under the major focus of the primary research question.
Correction – Corrected like in #3
5) Peer comments were similar to Dr. Heitner’s comments
2- Classmate Discussion
The problem is that national culture is an influential factor of people’s actions (Elmassri, Harris, & Carter, 2016). Empirical evidence suggests the validation of national culture and values influence on individuals’ decision-making process (Lennart, Park, & Singh, 2015). However, cross-cultural comparisons of senior executives’ decision-making processes on their remuneration plans and bonuses remain an unexplored area in the business literature (Heimann, Mullet, & Bonnefon, 2014). Studies on executives’ compensation package have traditionally focused on solving agency conflicts (Banker, Darrough, Rong, & Plehn-Dujowich, 2013; Li, Yang, & Yu, 2015;), corporate governance issues (Hong, Li, & Minor, 2016), and the ethical implications of executive hedging (Akron & Benninga, 2013; Dunham & Washer, 2012; Dye & Sridhar, 2016). These research topics have been deemed valuable to understand the mechanism (Minhat & Dzolkarnaini, 2016) and influence (Li, Yang, & Yu, 2015) of executives’ compensation packages in the decision-making process. Likewise, studies on managerial cultural traits analyze how culture influences executive decision-making (Meng, 2015; Ouellet, Facal, & Hebert, 2015) as relate to the firm day-to-day operations and organization’s goals and objectives.
Management and finance researches has confirmed the empirical relation between cultural distance and many economic decisions (Bryan, Nash, & Patel, 2015) and an emerging literature now considers the role of culture in corporate decision-making (e.g., Lievenbruck & Schmid, 2014). Researchers recommend further studies analyzing the influence of cultural traits on the decision-making process of senior executives regarding to their compensation plans and bonuses (e.g., Breuer et al., 2014; Fidrmuc and Jacob, 2010; Heimann, Mullet, & Bonnefon, 2014). According to Campbell et al. (2016), collectivist culture tends to allocate rewards to close circle, while in individualist societies remuneration are more spread allocated. Therefore, a need exists to explore how cultural background influences senior executives in their decision-making process on compensation packages.
RQ1: How do traits of individualist culture influence the decision-making processes of senior executives regarding their remuneration plans and bonuses?
RQ2: How do traits of collectivist culture influence the decision-making processes of senior executives regarding their remuneration plans and bonuses?
RQ3: How does the decision-making process of senior executives in individualist culture compare to senior executives in collectivist culture in regards to remuneration plans and bonuses?
Nature of the Study
Cultural traits and individuals’ beliefs are topics difficult to quantify. Yin (2014) explain that case studies allow researchers to answer the ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions. However, a set of conditions must be met for the study to be deemed suitable for a holistic single-case exploratory case study. The study objective should be explaining and examining how a contemporary phenomenon occurs. According to Yin (2014), the principle of case studies is trying to enlighten on why, how, and with what objective decision are taken. Therefore, using an explanatory case study allow me explain the behavior of individuals involved in the decision-making process of their remuneration packages.
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