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Indirect leadership under severe stress: A qualitative inquiry into the 2004 Kosovo riots
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).
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2007 (English)In: International Journal of Organizational Analysis, ISSN 1934-8835, Vol. 15, no 1, 23-34 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose – The purpose of this research is to develop a theoretical understanding of indirect leadership in a severely stressful peacekeeping context, focusing on the perspective of subordinates. Peacekeeping missions in recent decades have led to increased exposure to acute danger.

Design/methodology/approach – Retrospective in-depth interviews were carried out with 17 Norwegian officers and soldiers, who were involved in the handling of a violent riot in Kosovo during a peacekeeping mission. The interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory approach.

Findings – A model emerged with three categories: Situational Characteristics, Organizational Characteristics, and the Commander's Intent. A related core category was labelled Subordinates' Appraisal or Sensemaking. During the climax of the riot, a strict following of the ordinary chain of command was impractical. Local initiatives at lower organizational levels were needed, but these, in turn, required competence and a trustful organizational environment.

Research limitations/implications – Not representative of the entire population. Given the male-dominated military context under consideration, there could be no meaningful analysis of possible gender-related differences. The results related to a general model of indirect leadership and specific stress. Organizational theory-related additions and limitations are suggested.

Practical implications – The proposed model may be a practical tool for management education.

Originality/value – The study's identification of key aspects of indirect leadership in severely stressful contexts is a useful addition to the literature.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 15, no 1, 23-34 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-3039DOI: 10.1108/19348830710860138OAI: diva2:578594
Available from: 2012-12-18 Created: 2012-12-18 Last updated: 2017-01-04Bibliographically approved

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Larsson, GerrySjöberg, MisaAlvinius, Aida
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