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  • 1. Löfgren Rollof, Maria
    et al.
    Österberg, Johan
    Swedish Defence University, Institutionen för ledarskap och ledning, Leadership and Command & Control Division Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Oskarsson, Emma
    Swedish Defence University, Institutionen för ledarskap och ledning, Leadership and Command & Control Division Karlstad.
    Reservofficerares upplevelser av sin utbildning och deras vidare engagemang i Försvarsmakten: En kvalitativ intervjustudie hösten 20212022Report (Other academic)
  • 2.
    Nilsson, Joel
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Österberg, Johan
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Professional Socialization During Restructuring: A Study of Workload and Career Time2021In: Armed forces and society, ISSN 0095-327X, E-ISSN 1556-0848Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article examines the experiences of newly graduated officers and specialist officers, as they recently entered employment in the Swedish Armed Forces. Building on 35 interviews, this article illustrates the dynamics of excessive workload and an unstructured working environment, and how embedded strategies for mentoring and guidance can reduce negative outcomes associated with the workload. The article introduces the concept of career time, reflecting the participant?s propensity to perform unpaid work to pursue a career in the organization. This study reveals tensions between organizational and employee interests, and experiences of exclusion from the officer profession, contextualized drawing on classical theorists Foucault and Habermas. When restructuring organizations, the quest for efficiency can outweigh professional values, such as esprit de corps and taking pride in work and professional identity.

  • 3.
    Oskarsson, Emma
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Österberg, Johan
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Varför påbörjar individer spcialistofficersutbildning?2021Report (Other academic)
  • 4.
    Oskarsson, Emma
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Österberg, Johan
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Work-life balance among newly employed officers: a qualitative study2021In: Health Psychology Report, ISSN 2353-4184, E-ISSN 2353-5571, Vol. 9, no 1, p. 39-48Article in journal (Refereed)
    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.

  • 5.
    Österberg, Johan
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Ledarskapscentrum.
    A Diary-Based Case Study in the Development of Unit Cohesion during Basic Training in the Swedish Air Force2019In: Res Militaris, E-ISSN 2265-6294, Vol. 9, no 2, article id 1029926Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Military training is regarded as a life-changing experience and military service provides a vigorous set of norms and behaviour models. Esprit de corps, morale and cohesion are concepts that are strongly connected with the military context. The aim of this case study was to get a clearer insight into the social life and unit cohesion of Swedish Air Force recruits. Based on a digital diary approach, an exploratory design was used to collect data during military basic training. Four voluntary participants wrote a weekly diary throughout their nine-month basic training. Results indicate that the development of unit cohesion among recruits was a prominent feature during military basic training. They further show that an understanding of the development of unit cohesion could be based on the following four themes : positive adaptation to a new environment, constructive group development, qualitative leadership and challenge. These findings underline the importance of good leadership and positive group dynamics in fostering unit cohesion. Further studies should address the dark side of cohesion, where the military can develop norms and behaviours that are too strong and could be negative, leading to a conflict with the goals of the Armed Forces.

  • 6.
    Österberg, Johan
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Hellum, Nina
    Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, (NOR).
    The motivation to serve in the military among Swedish and Norwegian soldiers: a comparative study2020In: Journal of Defense Resources Management, ISSN 2068-9403, E-ISSN 2247-6466, Vol. 11, no 1, p. 30-42Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The geographic location of Sweden and Norway, combined with a deteriorated security situation in the Nordic Region and a renewed focus on national defense, makes the development of their armed forces a hot topic. In Sweden, after years of downsizing, the Armed Forces are now building up again, and the NATO member Norway has the strategic location bordering the Barents Sea in the North. These circumstances underline the importance of the motivation to serve among enlisted personnel in order to ensure a sufficient manning of the armed forces. A qualitative interview study was conducted with enlisted soldiers in Sweden and Norway with the aim of studying the motivation to serve among this population. A thematic analysis was used and results show that the motivation to serve could be understood from the following three themes: The Military as a Stepping Stone, International Mission, and Geographical Location and Benefits. 

  • 7.
    Österberg, Johan
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Holmgren, John
    Uppföljning av Särskild Officersutbildning (SOFU)2021Report (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Österberg, Johan
    et al.
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Oskarsson, Emma
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Nilsson, Joel
    Swedish Defence University, Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership (ISSL), Leadership Division, Karlstad.
    Perceptions of Officer Training Among Newly Employed Officers and Specialist Officers in the Swedish Armed Forces: A Qualitative Study2021In: Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies, E-ISSN 2596-3856, Vol. 4, no 1, p. 50-61Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Professional officer training in Sweden has gone through some major changes in the last 30 years. The current officer system is a two-category system, where officers complete the three-year academic Officers’ Programme, and specialist officers complete 18 months of vocational training at the Swedish Armed Forces’ training schools. The aim of this study was to investigate newly graduated officers’ and specialist officers’ perceptions of their officer training. Results showed that their perceptions could be covered by three overriding themes: identification, vertical versus horizontal career paths and the perceived relevance of the officer training. Furthermore, the respondents’ officer identification seemed to have developed before officer training, and the individual motivators concerned deliberate choices of becoming either an officer or a specialist officer. Coaching was crucial to both officers and specialist officers. However, the officers stated that coaching came at an early stage of their basic military training, whereas specialist officers were coached at a later stage in their career. The implications for the Swedish Armed Forces is that identification and career path are issues that need to be addressed early in a soldier’s military career, and that officer training needs to be more focussed on defining career paths, especially for specialist officers.   

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