Teaching a project based course in business problem solving to military officers is rewarding, but sometimes challenging. It can be difficult to do a cost benefit analysis or feasibility study when the unit under investigation does not offer its product for sale. Take for example a student project aimed at determining if the helicopter training squadrons at their command were getting too large.
The Naval Air Station at Whiting Field, Florida had two very large squads with approximately 300 helicopter instructors each. The commander was worried that the size of the squads could cause a lack of oversight and risk mishaps but there was no way the student team could test this theory.
It was easy for the students to determine the costs of dividing the two very large squads into three medium sized organizations, but it was much more difficult to determine the potential benefits. Although these were the largest squads in NAVAIR, the small number of mishaps and many associated variables made it impossible to conclude that mishaps or other problems could be caused by excessive organization size.
I helped the student team to use OrgCon to compare the situational fit of a large squadron to a medium size squad. The OrgCon analysis it pointed out misfits with the organizational structure of the large squadron that did not appear in the analysis of the smaller squad.
The students used the OrgCon analysis to support the other available data and provided their command with a more thorough analysis that was forwarded for further consideration.
Dr. Roxanne Zolin, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California.
Naval Postgraduate School
The Naval Postgraduate School is an academic institution whose emphasis is on study and research programs relevant to the Navy’s interests, as well as to the interests of other arms of the Department of Defense. The programs are designed to accommodate the unique requirements of the military.
Read more at http://www.nps.edu/