INLS385-002 Spring 2020


Organizational culture played key roles in two events of the 20th century, separated by 21 years. Watch both videos

"... the mechanism by which intelligence "signals" are sorted from background "noise" are neither uniform, entirely rational or random, but are instead functions of the culture and identity of the analytic unit"


"... we are assuming governmental behavior can be most satisfactorily understood by analogy with the purposive acts of individuals ... it obscures the persistently neglected factor of bureaucracy; the 'maker' of government policy is not one calculating decisionmaker but is rather a conglomerate of large organizations and political actors ..."


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Two classic studies of the role of organizational culture in decision making

Roberta Wohlstetter's Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision

Read part of Roberta Wohlstetter's take on 1941

Wohlstetter, R. (1962). Pearl Harbor; warning and decision. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press
read pages vii-ix and 382-401

Graham Allison's Essence of Decision

Read part of Graham Allison's take on 1962

Allison, G. T. (1971). Essence of decision: Explaining the Cuban missile crisis. Boston: Little, Brown
read pages v-viii;
skim pages 10-38, 87-100, 144-184;
read pages 243-263; and
skim pages 264-277

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You don't have to read these unless you wish to, but we might touch upon them in conversation


Zabecki.D.T. (2018). The US 2nd Division at Blanc Mont Ridge. Stand To! Magazine

This is an article written by one of the fellows I accompanied in France in September 2018. Read the article while thinking about the impact of organizational culture, in both the French and American armies, in 1918.

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things we'll talk about

slides for session 15

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something to take away

La Mer

La Mer by Veronneau

"La Mer" (English: "The Sea") is a song credited to French composer, lyricist, singer and showman Charles Trenet. The song was first recorded by the French singer Roland Gerbeau in 1945. It was not until 1946 that Trenet recorded his own version. When it was released in 1946, it became an unexpected hit, and has remained a chanson classic and jazz standard ever since.

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