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Every institution, organization and society has its unique culture developed over time through behaviors, practice, history and other relationships. Every culture has its unique symbols known as artifacts, which signify the uniqueness of the organization based on its behaviors, rituals, stories and values.
Overview of the US Marine Culture
The US Marine Corps is an institution with a widely varied organizational culture. Nevertheless, the culture is unique, even to the other branches of the national armed forces.
One of the most important points of consideration is that the members of the institution are drawn from almost all backgrounds in the US and beyond. Therefore, the institution has a unique culture that ties its members together under core values, practices and traditions ((Chenoweth, Avery & Nihart, 2011). In addition, these values, practices and traditions are passed from one generation to another.
Observable artifacts of the US Marine Culture
The US Marine culture is an institution established with an aim of providing security to the millions of Americans. It has evolved over time since the US obtained her independent from European powers.
First, the US emblem is a traditional artifact that has been passed from one generation to another since the institution adopted it in 1868. It depicts an eagle, a globe and an Anchor (EGA). It was derived from ornaments that were popular with the continental marines as well as the British royal marines before the US obtained its independence. A ribbon with the words “Semper Fidelis” is on top of the EGA emblem.
The eagle stands on the globe, specifically on the western hemisphere (Estes, 2010). Its wings are spread out, signifying that it is about to fly. In addition, the eagle’s beak holds a scroll similar to the ancient Middle East scrolls but bearing the term “Semper Fidelis”.
The Globe is under the feet of the eagle and its scroll. Behind these objects, a fouled Anchor with blue color is seen pointing to the western part of the Globe. According to the US Marie culture, the eagle represents “a proud country”, the fouled Anchor represents “the naval tradition” while the globe signifies “universal or global service” (Estes, 2010).
In addition, the US Marine has a Seal. It is another important artifact of the institution’s culture. Adopted in 1954, the seal consists of the EGA emblem in bronze, but the eagle displays its wings wider than the eagle on the emblem. It also stands on the western hemisphere. However, unlike the emblem’s eagle, it is yellow in color.
Other aspects are similar to the eagle on the emblem, including the scroll with the motto “Semper Fidelis”. The globe is superimposed on the Anchor. Surrounding these objects is a round blue strip bearing the phrase “Department of the Navy, US Marine Corps”. The seal has three major colors- blue, yellow and white. The colors of the seal have deep meaning in the institution. For example, the blue color represents the strong ties within the navy. On the other hand, yellow is the official and traditional color of the navy.
Noteworthy, the motto “Semper Fidelis” is an important artifact of the institution. It is a Latin phrase that translates to “always faithful” in English. It was adopted in 1883 after its addition to the seal and the emblem (Estes, 2010).
Finally, the Mameluke swords worn by the US Marines is an example of observable artifacts of the institution, which significantly and express the organizational culture.
The US Marine has a number of adopted values that guide its members, thus creating the image of the institution among the citizens. The motto “Semper Fidelis” is the first thing that all members must observe and honor. It indicates that the members, and thus the entire institution.
In the recruitment process for new members, trainers must always make sure that they instill the meaning of the motto to their recruits. It means that individuals must be ‘brothers’ and should be always counted on, which means that it is beyond teamwork (Estes, 2010). It guides the members to remain faithful to their mission, their colleagues, the institution and the country at large, regardless the situation, time and other circumstances (Estes, 2010).
In addition, the phrase “Ductos Exemplo” is added to the Marine Corp’s culture. In English, it means, “to lead by example”, which has been adopted as a motto for the Officer Candidates School. Thus, the trainers must look for an officer who displays the characteristics of discipline, self-reliance and responsibility.
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The Marines have a set of core values described as “Honor, courage and commitment”. It signifies how the members of the institution think, act and execute duties in the warfront. The spirit created by honor, courage and commitment has been exemplified in wars involving the US in such countries as Afghanistan and Iran as well as in providing humanitarian aid in countries like Haiti (Chenoweth, Avery & Nihart, 2011).
How do these items affect the organizational culture?
The elements described above act as symbols that guide the marines in the local, national and foreign missions. They always create a sense of unity, goodwill, loyalty and commitment to the mission, the organization and the country in general.
The character of an individual is an important aspect in a warfront. In fact, the US Marine Corps have signified these characteristic in various missions throughout their history, including foreign and domestic missions. For instance, the spirit created by honor, courage and commitment has been exemplified in wars involving the US in such countries as Afghanistan and Iran as well as in providing humanitarian aid in countries like Haiti (Chenoweth, Avery & Nihart, 2011).
Chenoweth, C., Avery, C. H., & Nihart, B. (2011). Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines. Washington, DC: Naval Institute Press.
Estes, K. W. (2010). The Marine Officer’s Guide. Washington, DC: Naval Institute Press.