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Work-life balance among newly employed officers: a qualitative study
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.
Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
2021 (English)In: Health Psychology Report, ISSN 2353-4184, E-ISSN 2353-5571, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 39-48Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Background: A military career puts great demands on the individual as regards combining working life and private life. The military and the family both demand time, energy, engagement, and commitment from the individual. Finding an appropriate balance between work and non-work might be particularly complex during military training and deployments that require extended periods away from home. The aim of this study was to investigate newly employed officers’ perceptions of work-life balance and its implications for future careers.

Participants and procedure: This article is based on 34 semi-structured interviews with newly employed officers and non-commissioned officers in the Swedish Armed Forces (SAF). The interviews were analyzed according to the six-phase approach of coding and theme development by thematic analysis.

Results: The analysis resulted in the emergence of three main themes: coping with different loyalties, individual and organizational strategies, and concerns about the future. All officers expressed loyalty to their work and organization, but these perceptions were influenced by significant others in private life. High ambitions in combination with stressful working conditions made organizational supportive strategies important, but these differed between units. Concerns about a constantly high workload and lack of recovery were highlighted, as well as concerns about future career and family building.

Conclusions: In order to retain qualified personnel, the SAF should provide support and create conditions that help employees to balance work and non-work. A career in the Armed Forces will inevitably entail a reduced work-life balance, and our results show that the newly employed officers are highly aware of this. To ease the pressure, the SAF could be clearer about the expectations on their new employees.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2021. Vol. 9, no 1, p. 39-48
Keywords [en]
work-life balance, career, military officers
National Category
Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Ledarskap under påfrestande förhållanden
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-9875DOI: 10.5114/hpr.2020.101250ISI: 000638244300004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-9875DiVA, id: diva2:1547136
Available from: 2021-04-25 Created: 2021-04-25 Last updated: 2021-09-22Bibliographically approved

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Oskarsson, EmmaÖsterberg, JohanNilsson, Joel

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