Journal article Open Access

A quantitative integration of the military cohesion literature.

Oliver, Laurel W.; Harman, Joan; Hoover, Elizabeth; Hayes, Stephanie M.; Pandhi, Nancy A.

In this article, we review research on group cohesion in military units, using meta-analytic techniques that convert research findings to a common metric. After combining some of the 39 samples to eliminate possible overlap in participants, we conducted separate analyses for 7 different outcomes. Effect sizes (correlation coefficients), weighted by the number of participants, were .40 for cohesion and group performance, .20 for cohesion and individual performance, and .47 for cohesion and joblmilitary satisfaction. Cohesion was also positively related to measures of retention (.22), well-being (.24), and readiness (.30) and was inversely related to rates of indiscipline (-.14). although these latter results are not definitive because of the smaller number of samples involved. Effect sizes weighted by the number of groups generally tended to decrease the number of cases, increase the effect sizes, and broaden the confidence intervals. We conclude that group cohesion results in desirable outcomes for the military and that the research has implications for policy and training issues. We recommend that future cohesion researchers include all basic datain their research reports, delineate their concepts explicitly, use valid and reliable measures, and give careful consideration to the level of analysis and other moderator variables.

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