The Recruiting Fallacies and Fiction: Symbolic Behavior in U.S. Army Recruitment Video Games and the Clash with Actual Soldier Experiences

By Ann O’Connor.

Published by The International Journal of Organizational Diversity

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Finding new tactics to increase enlistment numbers in the military requires a further look at what perks the interest of young adults. Today, U.S. Army recruiters are benefiting from state-of-the-art video gaming by utilizing advanced technology to lure recruits into military service on the premise that the videos are a slice of military life (Leland, 2009). However, once recruited, new enlistees are finding a different setting where new training strategies are teaching them restraint and not impulse shooting. When required to fire upon civilians and militants, soldiers are instructed to be culturally savvy and receive higher orders to fire under strict engagement guidelines (Stahl, 2008). This research suggests that contradicting messages from the U.S. Army Recruiting video games and actual military service and protocol has a profound impact on the assimilation process (Hess, 1993; Stohl, 1987). These messages may confuse already conditioned gaming-recruited individuals. This excessive exposure to violent gaming may pre-condition new recruits in a manner that is counterproductive to the organization’s mission.

Keywords: Military, Recruiting, Violent, Video-gaming, Reconditioning, Assimilation

International Journal of Organizational Diversity, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp.1-10. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 234.113KB).

Prof. Ann O’Connor

Faculty, Department of Communication, Butler University & Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

Ann O’Connor spent more than ten years in the Middle East where she was an administrative director of a 150-bed acute care facility in Saudi Arabia and a director of an environmental group in Dubai. Today, she is an adjunct faculty member with Butler University & Ivy Tech Community College, Indiana and Bee College, London. Ms. O’Connor is an internationally published scholar on military and diversity communication along with Islamic literature. In addition to her published works, she was the 2010 recipient of a fellowship with the United States Marine Corps University’s History Division to study military recruitment practices. Ann holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in organizational communication from Southeastern Louisiana University.