Take the 2-minute tour ×
Personal Productivity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people wanting to improve their personal productivity. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is there any research investigating the effect (or correlation) of a military background of a person on his productivity, effectiveness and other characteristics?

It is often casually claimed that a person with a military background is more disciplined, hardworking and so on, but it is interesting to find out whether it is has a scientific proof.

There some other supporting reasons like that Harvard accepts a lot of people with a military background or many of them succeed in the business world.

share|improve this question

closed as primarily opinion-based by manuelhe, Rory Alsop May 28 at 11:28

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

6  
Nice question. There may also be a bit of selection bias here: does military service make you more disciplined, hardworking etc., or are disciplined, hardworking etc. people more likely to sign up for the military in the first place? (Assuming that there is a correlation in the first place.) –  Stephan Kolassa May 21 at 13:52
    
Yes, certainly there could be. However, there some countries with obligatory conscription, so it is possible to eliminate this factor in research studies in these countries. –  vprisivko May 21 at 19:13
    
Even with conscription, there typically is the possibility of conscientious objection, and so we are back to the question of whether less disciplined, less hardworking etc. conscripts disproportionately make use of this possibility. (I'll stop now before I'm accused of perpetuating stereotypes.) –  Stephan Kolassa May 21 at 20:26
    
@StephanKolassa Yes, you're right, thank you for the comment! However, I think this effect will be quite small in countries like Switzerland, Israel, Norway and alike where it's pretty tough (as I'm aware of) to avoid conscription on purpose. By the way, don't be afraid to commend—you're proposing valuable hypotheses, not perpetuating stereotypes. :) –  vprisivko May 21 at 21:47
    
If you can find a notable claim here, this is actually an ideal question to migrate to Skeptics.SE. It isn't really on topic here, despite being very interesting. –  Rory Alsop May 22 at 11:16

3 Answers 3

In my view, people like to hire military people because of their perceived better work ethics, communication skills, and productivity. I don't know of any studies which establish these characteristics as facts, but they seem plausible -- at least to me.

Joe Schembri writes:

  • Military personnel often outperform other candidates as proven team players.

  • Through service, training, and lifestyle, former military personnel will typically have the work ethic that any business owner would be thrilled to replicate in all of the organization's employees.

  • Military personnel have been trained to work toward efficiency, ask for guidance when needed, and exercise self-discipline in professional settings.

share|improve this answer

Quite interesting indeed, if you consider countries usually viewed as highly productive/effective and how many of those have mandatory military service for all healthy males (and also voluntary for women).

Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world, and they have mandatory service.
Finland used to be a technological hub with extremely skilled local workers, and it has mandatory service (85 % of Finnish men complete full military service).
Germany has always been viewed as highly efficient, and they had mandatory conscription until 2011.
Israel is a modern technology hotspot, and has mandatory military service for both men and women.
Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world, and they have mandatory military service.

Maybe there are more examples? But to me there appears to be a high correlation, but maybe it is more tied to overall culture, which mandatory service seems to be a part of?

share|improve this answer
5  
This does not prove anything, it's cherry picking (you're leaving out all countries not having m.s.). You would at least have to make a 2x2 grid service yes/no and productive yes/no. –  Jan Doggen May 22 at 15:25
    
Actually most fellow Germans think back to their mandatory service time as a time that went to waste and was filled with senseless orders that had the purpose of killing time. –  0x6d64 May 24 at 11:05
    
@0x6d64 There are some things many people dislike though they are helpful. For instance, doing sports. We consciously do they are helpful although many people don't really like them. –  vprisivko May 25 at 10:56
    
@vprisivko: True that. I suppose I'm biased since I opted out of my military service for ethical reasons (a right which the German constitution granted me), but the anecdotal evidence I gave means to give an additional information how the German military is not educating towards efficiency. –  0x6d64 May 25 at 16:17

Military training or you may call it strict discipline. These all boils down to one important thing, Time. Time management as you may call it but do not over complicate or hype it. Just remember one thing, if you stick vigilantly to the time that you planned it will do the best course of action. You do not need military background all you need is respect for time.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.