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Indirect leadership in a military context: A qualitative study on how to do it
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Leadership and Management (ILM).ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8274-6065
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Leadership and Management (ILM).
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Leadership and Management (ILM).
Swedish National Defence College, Department of Military Studies, War Studies Division.
2005 (English)In: Leadership & Organization Development Journal, ISSN 0143-7739, E-ISSN 1472-5347, Vol. 26, no 3, 215-227 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – To develop a theoretical understanding of how indirect leadership is done in a military context.

Design/methodology/approach – A grounded theory approach was used. Twenty-two high-level Swedish commanders, and six of their subordinates were interviewed.

Findings – A model was developed which suggests that indirect leadership can be understood as consisting of two simultaneous processes. One is action-oriented and consists of interacting with a link (usually a small group of directly subordinate managers) which passes the messages down to lower organisational levels. The other influence process is image-oriented and consists of being a role model. Both processes are filtered through a “lens” which consists of the relative impact of a safety culture on the activities. In the favourable case, the employees at the lower levels trust both the link and the higher management. This appears to be a necessary condition for commitment and active participation. In the unfavourable case, there is a lack of trust. This breeds redefinitions of the messages and a necessity for relying on reward and punishment to obtain obedience.

Research limitations/implications – Lack of representativeness, indirect influence from lower to higher levels, as well as possible gender-related aspects, not studied.

Practical implications – The suggested model may be a valuable tool in higher management education.

Originality/value – The identification of two co-occurring pathways of influence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 26, no 3, 215-227 p.
Keyword [en]
Armed forces, Behaviour, Leadership, Senior management
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3029DOI: 10.1108/01437730510591761OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-3029DiVA: diva2:578389
Available from: 2012-12-18 Created: 2012-12-18 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, GerrySjöberg, MisaVrbanjac, AidaBjörkman, Torsten
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