Examining the Positive and Negative Aspects of US Military/Contractor Bonds in the Operational Environment

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Caroline Batka
Stefan Schilling
Christopher Kinsey


The US Department of Defense (DoD) relies on contractors to execute its mission. Although the DoD aims to maintain functional group bonds among personnel to accomplish its objectives, the relationships between DoD personnel and contractors are not well understood. To examine the US military/contractor bond, we conducted a small, non-generalizable pilot study based on semi-structured interviews. Participants described a range of barriers to establishing military/contractor bonds, including inter-organizational impediments, issues with professional boundaries, lack of common communication processes, and social comparison. Participants also identified various facilitators to military/contractor bonds, including shared goals and experiences.

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