Introduction defense. The threat was about the system


An organization refers to a group of people who form a social unit that is structured and managed systematically with the aim of achieving a given objective. Military teams and civilian arrangements such as business institutions are examples of organizations. Though management structures is believed have originated from the military system of command, the military and civilian organizations have of late taken different dimensions with the later developing more liberalized approaches to implementing its policies. This paper seeks to discuss whether or not the two types of organizations should adopt similar organizational competencies with respect to technology. The paper will look into systems in the two organizational types to identify similarities or differences to determine the argument.

Management in Military and Civil Organization

Though the military is always perceived to be a purely hierarchical system with chains of command that must be adhered to, there have been calls from experts and leaders in the military departments for a liberalization of the chains in the organizations. In the year 2001, for example, the United States’ secretary of defense made a call to the office of the president concerning a threat that had been identified in the department of defense. The threat was about the system of administration that was realized in the military.

After the information was passed, a number of changes were realized in the country’s military departments such as the “supply chain system, harness information technology and cut costs by adopting practices from the corporate world” (Managing, 2003, p. 1). The perception that might be held by either the military or the corporate world that one is more efficient than the other might not be necessarily true. While the military view the cooperate world as more efficient, there are a lot of things that managers in business organizations ought to learn from the military. He also explains that business organizations ought to identify the “lessons that have been learnt over decades in the military” (Managing, 2003, p. 1).

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The military is actually designed more like the business world structure. Just as the supply of goods and services are critical to the lives and well being of consumers in the economic set up, is the military provision a necessity to the lives of soldiers in the field. The two organizations are even almost similar in their supply chains. The supply chain foreword direction flow is a similarity in the two organizations with military equipments being transferred along steps of a chain all the way to the final ground soldier just like inventory is transferred through stages until its finished form is delivered to the final consumer. The United States’ military actually runs commercial operations that generate a large amount of money from “sales and services” (Managing, 2003). The military has also been adopting approaches used in the corporate world. Employment of academicians into systems for guidance and research is one of the lessons that have been learnt by the military from the corporate bodies.

Technologies such as in information systems have also been adopted by the United States’ military which at one time became the country leader in information technology. The pentagon’s implementation of “Customer Relations Management, Supplier Management and Enterprise Resource Planning systems” (Managing, 2003, p. 1) and the use of retailer’s functionality systems in military provisionary chain is also a reflection of developed similarity in the two organizations (Managing, 2003). In what showed compatibility of methods in the two organizations, the American military also formed a committee in the year 2001 that was purely composed of chief executives from the corporate world to help the military in understanding techniques of gaining efficiencies. It is also reported that almost all techniques that have been developed by the military have received adoption by the corporate world (Managing, 2003). As Price David (2008) recounted, there are a number of business management structures that have been adopted by the military. The military, for example, has financial managers who are useful in decision making regarding resource allocations.

Business management concepts such as efficiency and cost effectiveness in relation to managing resources that are in most cases scarce, even in military environments have been essentials in the military. Like in business systems, the military’s top administration is also characterized by an extensive level of “Planning, Programming, and Budgeting” (Price, 2008, p. 1) that helps in the effective utilization of resources for the attainment of military objectives (Price, 2008). Features such as monitoring and evaluation have at the same time become common in the two organizational systems. Another similarity in the two systems is the power that is vested on the capital supplier to the systems. Just as business organizations aim at making decisions in the interest of share holders, the military’s decisions are aimed at satisfying the interest of tax payers (Price, 2008).


Following the discussion, it is evident that the military and the corporate world share a lot of things in common. It is also evident that concepts that have over time been identified by one party have in the end have been adopted by the other. Due to similarities identified in their systems and operations, it can be concluded that planning for and implementation of information technology in the two systems require similar organizational competence.



(2003). Managing Supply Chains: What the Military Can Teach Business (and Vice Versa). Retrieved on May 30, 2011 from: http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.

edu/article.cfm;jsessionid=a830fe1c16ad9a882ac02226606e4c53601e?articleid=894 Price, D. E. (2004).

Organizing for expeditionary operations? Transforming headquarters financial management into the commander’s A-8 staff. Air Force Comptroller, July. Retrieved May 30, 2011 from:;content


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