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To cultivate an effective future workforce, the U.S. Coast Guard is purposefully considering ways to reshape its organizational culture. The service wants its 2030 workforce to embrace greater technological fluency, human-centric skills, and the ability to develop new skills and capabilities within the force. The Coast Guard's organizational culture — the behavioral norms and shared values consistently exhibited by its personnel — will play a critical role in creating an environment in which the workforce can put those skills into action. However, the service is increasingly concerned that its current policies for managing personnel, its homogeneous workforce, and the way it prioritizes specific skills could, over time, become barriers to fostering the workplace culture required to meet future challenges. Changing parts of the culture of a large, complex organization is difficult; doing so in the Coast Guard requires the service to address recruiting, training, retaining, and empowering the future workforce. This Perspective describes organizational culture, observations made and experiences described by participants in strategic-foresight workshops, examples of other organizations addressing culture issues, research on organizational culture, and how the Coast Guard can leverage this knowledge in forming its future culture.

This Perspective was sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard Office of Emerging Policy and conducted by the Strategy, Policy and Operations Program within the Homeland Security Operational Analysis Center.

This commentary is part of the RAND expert insight series. RAND Expert Insights present perspectives on timely policy issues. All RAND Expert Insights undergo peer review to ensure high standards for quality and objectivity.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.