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Engelkes, Torbjörn
Publications (2 of 2) Show all publications
Engelkes, T., Hedlund, E. & Larsson, G. (2023). Loyal to the end: Examining the meaning of loyalty among high-ranking military officers. Res Militaris, 13(3), 936-953
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Loyal to the end: Examining the meaning of loyalty among high-ranking military officers
2023 (English)In: Res Militaris, E-ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 936-953Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Organizations need co-workers who are committed to common goals and that are loyal to the core values of the organization.[1] The conscious fostering of organizational core values is seen as an important tool in creating loyal co-workers and hence an effective organization.[2] Professions with a strong vocational calling such as medicine (Kallin, 2010), the police (Ewin, 1990 ; Foust, 2018) or the military[3] have particular demands on loyalty to certain core values, and individuals are expected to adopt these as their own. However, organizational core values can be contradictive (Billig, 1988) and sometimes in conflict with the individual´s own core values which – when incompatible – can in turn cause severe moral stress and mental illness.[4] This implies a need for clarification about what is expected from members of an organization concerning the objectives and manifestations of core values. In terms of loyalty, the military profession is possibly one of the most demanding, expecting individuals to risk their own lives and to kill other human beings for the benefit of the organizational goals. However, since misplaced loyalty can cause destructive,[5] and unethical behaviour[6] with enormous consequences – especially in the military (Winslow, 1998) – there is a need to be clear about what kind of loyalty behaviour is constructive and vice versa. Although loyalty is a concept that seems to be defined in many different ways, the number of studies of loyalty and its meaning are quite limited - especially in military research.[7] The overall purpose of this study is to broaden understanding of the meaning of loyalty within the military. Because important core values of an organization are set – or strongly influenced[8] – by its leaders,[9] the aim of this study was to explore how high-ranking officers in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF) give meaning to their own personal experiences of loyalty and to describe possible common patterns within the participant group.

 [1] Wieseke, Alavi & Habel, 2014.[2] Berghaus & Cartagena, 2013.[3] Huntington, 1985 ; Moskos & Wood, 1988 ; Kirkhaug, 2009 ; Olsthoorn, 2011 ; Beard, 2014.[4] Molendijk, Kramer & Verweij, 2018.[5] Gabriel, 1982 ; Connor, 2010.)[6] Umphress & Bingham, 2011.[7] Olsthoorn, 2011 ; Connor, Andrews, Noack-Lundberg & Wadham, 2019.[8] Larsson, Haerem, Sjöberg, Alvinius & Bakken, 2007.[9] Fergusson & Milliman, 2008 ; Oh, Cho & Lim, 2018.

Sweden, military, officers, loyalty, core values, dilemmas
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject
Leadership and Command & Control
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-10550 (URN)
Available from: 2021-12-21 Created: 2021-12-21 Last updated: 2024-02-06Bibliographically approved
Engelkes, T., Sverke, M. & Lindholm, T. (2023). Predicting Loyalty: Examining the Role of Social Identity and Leadership in an Extreme Operational Environment—A Swedish Case. Armed forces and society
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Predicting Loyalty: Examining the Role of Social Identity and Leadership in an Extreme Operational Environment—A Swedish Case
2023 (English)In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

Military organizations often emphasize the importance of loyalty. It has been suggested that loyalty enhances motivation to take great risks and strive to accomplish a mission. However, research into what influences loyalty among military personnel is scarce. Hence, the aim of this study was to examine how leadership and social identity fusion relate to loyalty, using data from a sample consisting of a Swedish military unit on a United Nation mission (N = 152) in Mali. Hierarchical multiple regression results generally showed that social identity fusion and leadership were positively related to a willingness to show loyalty to the closest workgroup, one’s own unit, and the mission. The findings indicate that leadership and high levels of social identity fusion may influence the willingness to be loyal to organizational goals. The practical implication of this study is increased knowledge about the importance of leadership and social identity in developing relevant loyalties.

National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Leadership and Command & Control
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-12102 (URN)10.1177/0095327x221150948 (DOI)
Available from: 2024-01-08 Created: 2024-01-08 Last updated: 2024-01-08

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