Military Leaders and Trust
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to study trust in military leaders. Empirical data was gathered through interviews and questionnaires with military personnel mostly from Sweden, but also from four other European countries.Paper I illustrates that trust in military leaders can be theoretically understood in terms of a hierarchical system of categories, higher-level categories and two superior categories labelled Individual-related and Communication- and relationship-related characteristics.Paper II examines how trust between military leaders and their subordinates is related to negative critical incidents in international operations. The results show that trust can be affected by pre-existing influences, of both an individual and contextual nature. The level of trust that develops between leaders and subordinates appears to have an influence on perceptions and re-evaluations of leaders’ trustworthiness during and after involvement in critical incidents.In Paper III, an instrument, Destrudo-L, was developed to measure destructive leadership behaviours on five different dimensions: Arrogant, unfair, Threats, punishments, overdemands, Ego-oriented, false, Passive, cowardly, and Uncertain, unclear, messy.In Paper IV the relationship between constructive and destructive leadership behaviours and trust is examined. The results show that constructive leadership contributed most to trust in the immediate supervisor. A great deal of trust in immediate supervisors can be understood by evaluating both constructive and destructive leadership behaviours.This thesis contributes with context-specific knowledge on trust in leaders in a military context and knowledge of psychological processes and individual dispositions that shape and change the willingness to trust leaders. The main findings presented in this thesis are the identification of characteristics of the trustor, the trustee, and the context which influences trust in military leaders.
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