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Smooth power: Identifying high-level leadership skills promoting organizational adaptability
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9423-5916
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8274-6065
2020 (English)In: International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, ISSN 1093-4537, E-ISSN 1532-4273, Vol. 23, no 4, p. 297-313Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The study aims to gain a deeper understanding of what leadership skills are important for leaders in gaining adaptability in a hierarchical organization along with antecedent factors that influence the potential development of these skill sets.

Design/methodology/approach – A qualitative study was conducted by interviewing fifteen high-level military officers (Brigadiers and Colonels). Data were analyzed according to the grounded theory method and a theoretical model was generated.

Findings – A core variable was identified in the data analysis, the leader’s use of organizational smooth power, using structural, emotional and relational smoothness, to gain organizational adaptability. The leader’s professional background, experience and the organizational environment characteristics respectively interact as antecedent variables shaping the leader’s contextual appraisal in order to implement smooth power. Further research suggestions are pointed out and practical and ethical implications are included.

Research limitations/implications – The study was completed in a specific context, a higher-level military staff, which makes it context specific. We hypothesize that similar behaviors may be found in other organizations but further research should be conducted to test this. The sample size is relatively small due to the chosen qualitative research method.

Practical implications – Practical considerations should be given to ethical and moral reflection within leadership training for ongoing use in leadership praxis, such as implementation and ongoing reflection of ethical leadership (Trevino~ et al., 2000; Trevino~ et al., 2003). Other practical impacts of this research may be for selection and retention efforts of high-level military staff workers. The model may also be useful for education purposes in order to increase awareness and abilities of smooth power concepts in an attempt to increase adaptability in military leadership. It may increase their awareness of skills rendered as necessary for collaborative efforts in multinational staff environments.

Originality/value – The research contribution is the detailed descriptions of the ways high-level leaders use organizational smooth power in order gain organizational adaptability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2020. Vol. 23, no 4, p. 297-313
Keywords [en]
leadership, social capital, informal organization, adaptability, organizational behavior, smooth power
National Category
Other Social Sciences
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8901DOI: 10.1108/IJOTB-02-2019-0009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-8901DiVA, id: diva2:1384184
Available from: 2020-01-09 Created: 2020-01-09 Last updated: 2021-12-08Bibliographically approved

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Ohlsson, AliciaAlvinius, AidaLarsson, Gerry

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