Term of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Education Administration (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Leadership, Technology, and Human Development

Committee Chair

Devon Jensen

Committee Member 1

Charles R. Hall

Committee Member 2

Mohomodou Boncana


This exploratory, qualitative case study describes how a centralized training organization (LandWarNet School) was improved by introducing decentralization (Army Learning Model) toward “the best competitive position” or "sweet spot," defined by Brafman and Beckstrom (2006) as “enough decentralization for creativity, but sufficient structure and controls to ensure consistency” (pp. 189, 191). Any presence of the six chaordic elements of a decentralized organization, as described by Hock (1999), was also considered.

LandWarNet School (LWNS) trains approximately 6000 US Army Soldiers annually and is centrally organized. The new Army Learning Model (ALM) is a vision for a more decentralized training approach where soldiers are in charge of their learning, training is facilitated rather than presented, and technology is integrated for engaging experiences.

Thirty-two Face-to-face Appreciative Inquiry (AI) interviews were conducted to solicit success-based narratives in reference to the current and the aspired ALM implementations from all willing LWNS stakeholders (employees, soldiers, customers, Army contacts). Consistent with AI methodology, only positive questions were asked and only affirmative responses were recorded (Whitney & Trosten-Bloom, 2010). Confidentiality was provided for those who specifically requested it. Also, 7,329 responses to the end of module survey question, “What did you like best in this module?” previously collected from LWNS students were reviewed for ALM elements and controls as well as chaordic elements as triangulation. All data collected were posted to the LeaderMeeter|Meter blog for review by participants. One summative, facilitated group meeting was held for stakeholder confirmation.

The data collected were compared to the three categories of ALM elements (32) in TRADOC PAM 525-8-2 to describe the status of the LWNS’s ALM implementation. All but three of the ALM elements were reported as present or aspired. More learner-centric elements were aspired than present. Three common controls for consistency were noted within the top five of both present and aspired ALM elements: content needs to be self-driven, easily accessible, and realistic. Of the six chaordic elements, one was noted as currently present and five were aspired. Since the AI questions solicited only success stories, it was assumed that the reported ALM elements (decentralization) improved the LWNS (centralized organization).