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Influence of IED attacks on leadership: Dealing with the invisible enemy
Försvarshögskolan, Ledarskapscentrum.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies. Försvarshögskolan, Ledarskapscentrum.
2012 (English)In: Res Militaris, E-ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 2, no 3, Summer/ÉtéArticle in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The aim of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of leadership in military operations characterized by the presence of critical incidents (IED attacks). Twenty-one Swedish soldiers and officers (ranking from soldier to colonel) who had experienced IED attacks in Afghanistan during the period 2005-2008 were interviewed, and their responses were analyzed according to grounded theory methodology. A model was developed according to which the essence of military leadership immediately following an IED attack could be summarized as recapturing control over self, the group and the task. The model also illuminates the importance of selected pre-existing conditions and the leader's appraisal/ sensemaking processes. Nine leadership acts of balance were identified, including balanced grief (self), balanced focus on emotional and functional recovery (group), and balanced handling of safety versus necessary risk-taking (task).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 2, no 3, Summer/Été
Keyword [en]
Military, Sweden, Afghanistan, leadership, IED attacks, irregular warfare, trust.
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden; Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37242OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-37242DiVA: diva2:844241
Available from: 2015-08-04 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-09-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Military Leaders and Trust
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Military Leaders and Trust
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to study trust in military leaders. Empirical data was gathered through interviews and questionnaires with military personnel mostly from Sweden, but also from four other European countries.

Paper I illustrates that trust in military leaders can be theoretically understood in terms of a hierarchical system of categories, higher-level categories and two superior categories labelled Individual-related and Communication- and relationship-related characteristics.

Paper II examines how trust between military leaders and their subordinates is related to negative critical incidents in international operations. The results show that trust can be affected by pre-existing influences, of both an individual and contextual nature. The level of trust that develops between leaders and subordinates appears to have an influence on perceptions and re-evaluations of leaders’ trustworthiness during and after involvement in critical incidents.

In Paper III, an instrument, Destrudo-L, was developed to measure destructive leadership behaviours on five different dimensions: Arrogant, unfair, Threats, punishments, overdemands, Ego-oriented, false, Passive, cowardly, and Uncertain, unclear, messy.

In Paper IV the relationship between constructive and destructive leadership behaviours and trust is examined. The results show that constructive leadership contributed most to trust in the immediate supervisor. A great deal of trust in immediate supervisors can be understood by evaluating both constructive and destructive leadership behaviours.

This thesis contributes with context-specific knowledge on trust in leaders in a military context and knowledge of psychological processes and individual dispositions that shape and change the willingness to trust leaders. The main findings presented in this thesis are the identification of characteristics of the trustor, the trustee, and the context which influences trust in military leaders.

Abstract [en]

Armed forces often perform tasks in life or death situations, bringing the issue of trust in military leaders to a head. Dependence on and trust in military leaders entails considerable risk, as any mistakes made by the leader may result in serious injury or death. Obeying orders is an essential aspect of the military profession and trust is critical since individuals are expected to give up their right to self-determination and follow orders (i.e. trust the leader). Refusal not only puts the individual soldier at risk, but also his or her team members and leaders. The hierarchical military system puts subordinates in a vulnerable position in relation to the leader.

The aim of this thesis is to study trust in military leaders. Empirical data was gathered through interviews and questionnaires with military personnel mostly from Sweden, but also from four other European countries.

This thesis contributes with context-specific knowledge on trust in leaders in a military context and knowledge on psychological processes and individual dispositions that shape and change the willingness to trust leaders. The main findings presented in this thesis are the identification of characteristics of the trustor, the trustee, and the context which influences trust in military leaders.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2015. 194 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2015:37
Keyword
military leadership, trust, destructive leadership, constructive leadership, Destrudo-L
National Category
Psychology Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden; Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-37236 (URN)978-91-7063-655-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-10-02, Sjöströmsalen, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Avhandlingen skrevs i samarbete med Försvarshögskolan i Stockholm i ämnet Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden

Available from: 2015-09-18 Created: 2015-08-03 Last updated: 2015-10-06Bibliographically approved

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