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I.s.arcI M.a.rsaü ~ 17.3 ( uui?~~~~~~ A PPLICATION OF THE A SSIGNMENT A LGORIT HM TO QUARTE RMAST ER CAP TAINS fr riiri ~ IFvTI ~ Ahson F. Fields ~~ I ~~ PERSONNEL ACCESSION AND UTILIZATION TECHNICAL AREA r ~ j r F ~~~~ U. S. Army U Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences C-, ~ k. ~~~ March 1977 fl Distxlb ~ tj ~~ Un1i ~ Lt.d - D D C ~ j ff ~ 1?flfl fff U ~ ~~ C11 ~~ 9 T9 bi U U ~~~ ~ 1) i71 t -. Best Available Copy F ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Army Project Number )Q7t ~ 717A766 Manpower Utilization Systems / Research Memor ~~ èi ~~ 77-3 APPLI CATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT 4LGOR I THM TO QUARTERMASTER CAPTAINS Alison F. Fields Bertha H. Cory, Work Unit Leader Submitted by: Ralph R. Canter, Chief Personnel Accession and Utilization Technical. Area 4 March t977 ~~ Aco ic ~~~~ r Approved by: wfls ~~ u DOC ~~ A1 l ~~~~ ouncsd J ~ tstiftoation.... a E. Ral ph Dusek, Director Individual Training and Performance Research Labora tory ~~ j ~ tribution/ J. E. Uhianer, Technical Director _Avelln ~~ IltL_C!4e5 - U.S. Army Research Institute for 4 Avalland/Or the Behavioral and Social Sciences Diat. spec al Research Memorandums are informa l reports on technical research problems. Limited distribution is made, primarily to personnel engaged in research for the Army Research Institute. ~~~~~ -u APPLICATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT ALG (~~I THN TO QUAR TERMASTER CAPTAINS As part of this experimental system, a job assignment module was designed to allocate individuals to job categories according to each individual s suitability. This assignment algorithm is designed to reflect and be flexible to changes in Army policy and was developed with two potential users in mind : 1) Individual officers who would use it to make decisions in expressing their assignment preferences. 2) Officer Personnel Directorate management, particularly assignment officers, who would use it as an aid in making assignments. Assignment policies are quantified and individuals scores for jobs are determined in the following manner: Step 1. The assignment officers determine the categories of jobs to which individuals will be assigned. (Examples are shown in Table 1.) Step 2. Easily retrievable background variables which enter into the assignment decisionmaking process are identified. (Examples are shown in Table 2.) Step 3. The assignment officers rate the overall importance of each of the background variables for each of the job categories, thus setting up a table of weights. (Examples are shown in Tables 3 and Ii.) Step I~. For each ba ck gro un d var ia b le, a set of features exists which includes all the possible states which can describe an individual s background in that variable. (Examples are shown in Tables 5 and 6.) Assignment officers weigh each feature for its negative, positive, or null importance for each job category. The weights are consistent within a single variable; the relative importance among variables is reflected in the table of weights set up in Step 3. Step 5. The appropriate product weights (feature weight x variable weight) sunined across all background variables for each job category are determined for each individual officer from the available background data in order to obtain a utility score for each of the job categories. Thsse u t i l i t y scores are standardized to permit comparison among job categories. (i i ~ -. Improved motivation and retention of a high q ual ity off icer corps within the Army will depend in part on the quality of the system which ma tch e s the Army s force structure requirements with the individual Army off ic er s career needs. In order to better understand the functioning of the current system and to conduct research on officer career progression, a computerized experimental research facilility was designed and implemented at ARI. This facility (described by Van Nostrand in a report in preparation )allows ARI scientists to experiment with ( 1) systems for presenting career information and guidance tailored to the individual officer; ( 2) technology of personnel file review and updating ; and (3) other aspects of information system technology... ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~.. Table 1. J( ~ CATEG(*IES USED IN THE INFANTRY RESEARCH ROTC instructor (ROTC) Civilian education (ce ) Long tour overseas (LT) Shor t tour overseas (ST) CONU S coiim ~ and (CC ) CONUS staff (CS ) Army School instructor (I) Reduction in Force (RIF) Table 2 BACKGROUND VARIMLES USED IN THE INFAN TRY RESEARCH Assignment history (previous experience) (EXP ) Preference for next assignment ( PREY) Civilian education level (cel) Componen t (C ~~ 1P) Manner of Performance (MOP) Time in service (TIS) I I -2- ~~ i--. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~ A. ~ 14 0 U U ~~ r.4 O\ ~~ 0 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ U) ~ 4 U) 4 U ~~~~~ U ( ~~ ~ J r ~ I O.4 ~ 0 ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ U).0 ~~ ~~ 0 ~ ~_, boi U) ~~ ~ f-4 t. o U.0 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ t pr ~~~~~~~~~~ u ~ \ ~~~~~ H 0 o o ~~~ - ~~~ o I-s t 0 ~ SI ~ C., I. I -3- ~~~~~~~~~. - ~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ - - ~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~ - ~ ~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~ - ~~~ - -~~~~~~~ -,, - ~~~~~~~~~ -.-4 t ~ 0 a ~ N U U5... N ~.O CU ad U ~ (J) I U) U U). ad - ~~ CU ~~ t ~ N N- CU ~ N 0) N-, ~ ) ~~~~ hk- ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ U)X ~ ) g g!i C.J ~~~ - ~~ U g, ~~~~~~~~~~~~ U_ \ C \ $ ~~~~ 0 4 0, -v-- - ~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~ -. ~~ -- ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~ ~ ~, ~~~ Table 3 FEATURES OF THE SIX MCXGROUIID VARIANLES USED IN THE INFANTRY RESEARCH Assignment History (EXP) 1 no comeand, not up for a short tour 2 two or more short tours or just back from a short tour 3 zero overseas or 48 months since a singl, short tour 4 just beck from a long tour 5 RIF list or one tim. passover for promotion, overrides other factor. 6 week or special forces comeand only 7 instructor, needs coninand 8 instructor, needs overseas 9 needs a long tour O oth.r P reference (PREP) 0 none 1 overseas 2 CONUS coimsand 3 civilian education 4 CONUS instructor 5 CONUS staff 6 equal weight for troop and overseas 7 overseas slightly higher than civilian education B preferences overridden by being on RIP list Civilian Education Level (CEL) 1 lees than two veers of college 2 2 or more veers of college 3 college graduate and/or a or more of graduate school 4 master s or professional degree 5 Ph.D. Component (COMP) Manner of Performance (W ~ P) 1 Regular 1 upper third 2 other then Regular Army 2 middle third 3 lower third T ime in S rvice (TIS) 1 95 or more months active fsdsral co is.iona d service months months 4 64 or fewer months ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1TI ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~ -- ~~~~~ - ~~~~~~ Table 6 FEATURES OF THE SIX BACKGROUND VARIABLES USED IN THE QUARTERMASTER RESEARCH Assignment History (EXP ) 1 no command ; not up for a short tour 2 two or more short tours or just back from a short tour 3 zero overseas or 72 months since a single short tour 4 l ust back from a long tour 5 RIP list or one t ime passover for promotion ; overrides other factors 6 needs a long tour Preference (PREP) 0 none 1 overseas 2 command 3 civilian education 4 CONUS instructor 5 CONUS staff 6 preferences overridden by being on RIP list Civilian Education Level (CEL) I. less than 2 years of college 2 2 or more veers of college I college graduate and/or a year or more of graduate school 4 master s or professional degree COL ~~~~~~ O ~~ ) 1 Regular Army 2 - Other than Regular Army Manner of Performance (WW ) 1 upper third 2 middle third 3 lower third 4 borderline cases between middl. and lower third or extenuating circumstances for being in lower third Time in Service (TIS) 1 95 or more months active federal coimsissioned service mon ths months 4 64 or fewer months 5 over 156 months active federal service L ~~~ - _ ~~~~ SS S_ ~~~~. _ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The assignment algorithm has been (Yields, 1977). Rrieflv, it can allocate officers to lob categories in three wave : (1) optimization of scores for assign.d lob for the total group ; (2) pre selection o f some individuals particularly sul t.d for certain assignments followed by optimization across the remainder : it)) rank ordering of the individuals by their total scores (across lob categories) followed by prcselectlon and optimi zation. The optimi zation method is based on the Ford-Fulkerson model (Ford and Pulkerson, 1957) modified by the ART computer center staff (see Granda and McMull.n, 1974). This algorithm w*e originally developed using the Infantry branch captain assignment procedure (Eastman, 1977). In that research, the algorithm was shown capable of quantifying and obj.ccifying assignment policies and practices of the Infantry career branch and to be both feasible and efficient. The purpose of th. present research was to explor, the transferability of the algorithm to other assignment situations. PROCEDURE SUBJE CTS Assignment procedures for captai ns of the Quartermaster Branch were chosen for t ransferability research. A non combat inns branch was desired to contrast with the Infantry research. A sample of Quartermaster captains (N 57), comprising all the members of a Quartermaster Officer Advanc.d Course, was used to evaluate the assignment module. The officers had to b. assigned at one t ime: therefore it was possib le to model proc.dur.. of different kinds of assignments in a short tim frame. Furthermore, the size of the class was sufficiently large to test the algorithm, ability to make correct assignments. DETERMINING THE WEIGHTS The assignment officer for the group was briefed on the purpos. of th. research before assignment. were mad. for this class of Quartermaster officer.. Shortly after th. assignments had been mad., the assignment officer was provided with background variables and job categor ies from the Infantry research, and asked to.valuate their applicability to the Quartermaster assignments. The officer was then asked to provide the two tables of weight. discuesed above incorporating changes, deletions and additio ns he might judge necessary. This was a slight departure from the procedure in Infantry branch research S t - S S -. SS,, S S , S ~~ reported by ~~ tstm ~ in (l ~~ 7 ) where weights were assigned before assignments ~ wt rc made. Alsc, in the Ct ~ :ermaster branch, one officer both deter mined the we i ghts used in tht ~ research and made the assignments. In the Infantry research, three olticer e made the assignments although they did so in a loint meeting. } ach of the three assignment officers indepen- S dent lv made up tables - ~~ weights, as d id an experienced Infantry assignment oft leer who was rea ~~ igned before the assignments were made, and an officer from the ln ~~ antrv Adv anced School. The weights actually used in the infant ry rt ~ earch were the modal values f rom these t ive Inputs. TESTINC rhe ALGORITH M The table of weights and the background data of the 57 officer suhiects were entered into the computer and the algorithm was run three times to assign officers by the three possible methods: (1) optimizing tot5tl uti lit y scores acrcs ~ the whole group, (2) preselecting officers particularl y stilted for a particular joh and then optimizing the total utilit y scores acros ~. the rest, and (3) rank ordering the officers before preselection and optimization. In this research approximately half the quota fo r each job category was allocated for preselection. The rank ordering method was run so that Individuals most qualified for jobs would he pre ~ e ~ ltct ed hetore preselection quotas were filled. S These th ree methods ot making assignments were evaluated by deter mining the ch with the actual assignments independently determined by the assignmtm t c tficer. in addition, because more than one assignment m.iv he appropriate for an officer at a given point in a career, a suit tmlltv measure vts calculated that had been devised in the Infantry re ~ irch ~ or computer placements which did not match actual S assignments. It was ts ~ - ~ ed that assignments made by assignment officers meet ce rtain criterli of suitability. The assignment officer was asked to provide one or more equally suitable alternate assignments for those oft leers whose computer Hacemente did not match the actual assignment. A computer-generated assignment was considered suitable if it matched either the actual assignment or an alternate assignment. RE SULTS F.VALITATTON t ~ F INFANTRY 1 R( ~ flpced VARIABLES FOR QUARTERMASTER ASSIGN MENT The Quartermaster branch personnel agreed that background variables and the job categories determined In the Infantry research were also suitable for Quartermaster captain assignments with one exception. It was felt that, for Quarte rmasters, the continental U.S. (CONUS) command job category was insufticient; therefore the category of command (C) included both CONUS and overseas command. However, because the Quartermaster branch personnel did not feel that the features of the Infantry background variables were in all cases appropriate for Quartermasters, changes, deletions, and additions were made. The Quartermaster features in Table 6 can he compared to those for the Infantry in Table S ~~~ S- - EVALUATION OF THE ALGORITHM The percentage of agreement between the actual assignments and the computer generated assignments for each of the three algorithm methods, shown in Tab le 7, reflects the success of the assignment algorithm in reflecting branch policies and procedures. For comparison, the percent ages from the Infantry research are also given in Table 7. When the assignment officer was asked to give alternate suitable assignments for those officers whose computer generated assignments had not matched their actual assignments, a problem arose. In this group, five officers had received assignments based on conditions not reflected in the algorithm compassionate assignments and special requests (e.g., a General Officer would request that a certain officer be assigned to his staff). In discussions on how these cases would be reflected in the algorithm, it was pointed out that these assignments had been handled outside the normal procedures and probably always would be handled separately despite any future changes in procedure. For this reason, it was decided to remove these individuals from the study and adjust the job quotas accordingly. Table 7 PERCENT AGE S OF C0!PUTER ASSIGNMENT S WHI CH MATCH THE ACTUAL ASSIGNMENTS OF 57 QUARTERMASTER CAPTAINS AND 160 INFANT RY CAPTAINS % Match Z Match Method of Assignment Quartermaster Infantry Optimization Preselection and Optimization 81 (a) Rank Ordering with Preselection and Optimization a This method of assignment was not used in the Infantry research. 5) S ~~~~~~ -- S - ~~~~~~~~~.- Table 8 shows the percentage of agreement between the actual or alternate assignments and the ct ~ mputer generated assignments of the remaining 52 officers. The Infantry figures are given in Table 8 for comparison. The last two columns show the percentage of captains who received a suitable computer assignment (one which matches the actual and alternate assignments). Each of the three algorithm methods for Quartermaster captains produced exactly the same assignment for each individual. ASSIGNMENT ALGORITHM VARIABLES DISCU SSION The factors (job categories, background variables, and features) which enter into the decisionmaking process in the Quartermaster branch are similar, but not identical, to those used in the Infan try. This suggests that the algorithm is transferable across branches. It underlines the transferability of the model and the theory behind it that assignment procedures can be modeled as a system which weights factors and maximizes outcomes. However, it does suggest that transferring the algorithm involves more than changing weights. Unless an Army wide set of job categories, background variables, and features can be set up, a careful study of the policies and procedures of each branch or division must be made, and appropriate factors as well as weights must be decided upon. As policies and regulations change, the model must change as well. For example, at one time a Regular Army (RA) commission made an officer immune to RIF ; recent changes in the law have made this no longer true. In the assignment algorithm, RA had a large negative weight for RIF until the change; now it has a weight of 0. EFFECTIVENESS OF THE ALGORITHM The difference between the effectiveness of the algorithm in matching actual assignments for Quartermaster captains and Infantry captains is shown in Table 8. The improved performance of the assignment algorithm can be explained in large part by the fact that, in the Quartermaster research, those off icer s whose ass ignments were made outside of the usual career progression were removed from the research group. This was not done in the Infantry research. Such special cases have a compounding effect in that in the algorithm the number of people must equal the sum of the quotas for the job categories. Therefore when a person was assigned to Category B for compassionate reasons, and the computer assigns him to a job category A slot, not only is he misassigned but also the individual who actually filled job category A, because the computer has already assigned the slot to the first individual. S ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ uw1j p- ~ a ~~~~~~ IJ I.4 1 H r4 V V ~ ~~~ 4J.r 4 ~ J U ~~~ id Vol V 0.o ~ O o U ~ U U ~ in a V ~ c ~ i aj 1J ~ U n H o 1-4 Z U 4 V ~~~~~ U t ~~ 54L) 14 UM a H,-4 V 1.~ H 0 ).1 X ~ U N a ~ a. c ~. ~ 1.4 ~ 14 ~ C) 4, 4 1) V V g- ~ 4. 0 N,4 N V 0 ~ 0.~~ g g. ~ g 0,l,4 14 ri.2 l VU 44 o ~ 0 U N V ~~~~ I 0 v ~ 4 i-i O l 0 U V C.0.,.4.Me. ~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ J ~ S S However, this does not account for the difference between Infant ry and Quartermaster match to actual assignment shown in Table 7. The Quartermaster branch is mnch smaller than Infantry branch, so that more time may be spent on an assignment process. Requisitions for Quarter master off icers often outnumber available officers, perhaps allowing for a be tt er fit of job and officer. The identification of factor. in the ass ignment p rocess and their weights may have been more precise In the Quartermaster research because only one assignment officer was responsible for the entire process. The computer has the advantages of speed, objectivity, efficiency, and consideration of all identified relevant variables. The computer can give branch personnel more time for handling special cases and for evaluating assignments a f t e r the computer has done preliminary file reviewing and partitioning. This assumes, of course, an operational system with access on line to the Officer Master File of Personnel data. CONCLUSIONS M~ IMPLICATIONS results indicate that the assignment algorithm can be applied to situations other than Infantry branch. The high percentage of computer generated assignments that match actual Quartermaster assignments suggests that the algorithm can model branch policies and procedure, and that the model is improved if special cases, e.g., family hardships or special requisitions, are handled separately as in actual assignment procedures. Adaptation of Infantry variables to the Quartermaster situation underlines the fact that care must b. taken to tailor variables to the actual set of procedures and policies modeled either across branch or division or over time. However, the assignment algorithm can be visualized now as a useful illary source of information to the officer i tenta tive assign ments, reviewed and changed : t : s~~~~ n st~~~ar y, the research with Quarterma ster captains has shown that the assignment algorithm I. a feasible approech for matching officers with jobs. Thu approach can be adapted to a small, non combat arms assig
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