Indirect leadership in a military context: A qualitative study on how to do it
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
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.
Armed forces, Behaviour, Leadership, Senior management
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3029DOI: 10.1108/01437730510591761OAI: oai:DiVA.org:fhs-3029DiVA: diva2:578389