Religious Diversity and Technology: Traditional Enemies Made Friends for Leaders

Religious Diversity and Technology: Traditional Enemies Made Friends for Leaders

Charlotte E. Hunter, Lyman M. Smith
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2668-3.ch013
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Religious and humanist identity and values, although often invisible, may affect (a) job performance, (b) conduct, and (c) organizational commitment. A 2009 research survey of active-duty service members in the U.S. armed forces investigated religious and humanist identification and values; results revealed areas that may significantly affect a leader’s ability to successfully exercise command. A military leader’s diversity management plan cannot be effective without a means of discerning, then understanding implications to the military mission of religious/humanist beliefs/values present among personnel. This chapter explores the benefits of survey technology in providing military leaders with needed information, implications for leadership policy and future research areas.
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Religion, which in part comprises the individual and societal human response to the divine, in all its complexity and variety (Otto, 1923), exists as an integral, even primary, cultural element and a leading source of personal and collective identity (Geertz, 1973; Bellah, 2006). The last decade of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first have afforded U.S. citizens – and members of the U.S. armed forces – evidence of the power of religious and humanist belief, adherence, practice, and allegiance in national, international, and local circumstances. In the shocked aftermath of the 11 September 2001 bombings, religious rhetoric was used to inform American public opinion as the Bush administration engaged in militaristic moves, helping to “shape American responses toward both the issues of Iraqi disarmament and an invasion of Iraq” (Smidt, 2005, p. 260).

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