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Article
Publication date: 5 May 2020

Alicia Ohlsson, Aida Alvinius and Gerry Larsson

The study aims to gain a deeper understanding of what leadership skills are important for leaders in gaining adaptability in a hierarchical organization along with antecedent…

Abstract

Purpose

The study aims to gain a deeper understanding of what leadership skills are important for leaders in gaining adaptability in a hierarchical organization along with antecedent factors that influence the potential development of these skill sets.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative study was conducted by interviewing fifteen high-level military officers (Brigadiers and Colonels). Data were analyzed according to the grounded theory method and a theoretical model was generated.

Findings

A core variable was identified in the data analysis, the leader's use of organizational smooth power, using structural, emotional and relational smoothness, to gain organizational adaptability. The leader's professional background, experience and the organizational environment characteristics respectively interact as antecedent variables shaping the leader's contextual appraisal in order to implement smooth power. Further research suggestions are pointed out and practical and ethical implications are included.

Research limitations/implications

The study was completed in a specific context, a higher-level military staff, which makes it context specific. We hypothesize that similar behaviors may be found in other organizations but further research should be conducted to test this. The sample size is relatively small due to the chosen qualitative research method.

Practical implications

Practical considerations should be given to ethical and moral reflection within leadership training for ongoing use in leadership praxis, such as implementation and ongoing reflection of ethical leadership (Treviño et al., 2000; Treviño et al., 2003). Other practical impacts of this research may be for selection and retention efforts of high-level military staff workers. The model may also be useful for education purposes in order to increase awareness and abilities of smooth power concepts in an attempt to increase adaptability in military leadership. It may increase their awareness of skills rendered as necessary for collaborative efforts in multinational staff environments.

Originality/value

The research contribution is the detailed descriptions of the ways high-level leaders use organizational smooth power in order gain organizational adaptability.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory & Behavior, vol. 23 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 14 November 2016

Peder Hyllengren, Sofia Nilsson, Alicia Ohlsson, Kjell Kallenberg, Gudmund Waaler and Gerry Larsson

The purpose of this paper is to identify and gain a deeper understanding of environmental, organizational, and group conditions, and leadership-related issues in particular, in…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify and gain a deeper understanding of environmental, organizational, and group conditions, and leadership-related issues in particular, in severely stressful situations involving a moral stressor faced by military and police officers.

Design/methodology/approach

A combined deductive and inductive approach was used, and in total 23 military and police officers, all having experience of morally difficult decisions during severely stressful conditions, were interviewed.

Findings

A hierarchical conceptual framework of contextual characteristics was developed. The environmental, organizational, leadership-related, and group aspects identified in this study on morally stressful situations resemble findings from general research on work and stress. However, a stronger emphasis was put on leaders’ handling of values and his or her ability to confront senior management when needed.

Practical implications

The results suggest that well-documented methods aimed at the prevention of, and recovery from, work-related stress, also can be used in the case of extreme situations involving moral stressors.

Originality/value

The interplay between leadership and extreme situations involving moral stressors is, to the best of the knowledge, understudied.

Details

International Journal of Public Leadership, vol. 12 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-4929

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 28 December 2021

Alicia Ohlsson, Sofia Alexandra Nilsson and Gerry Larsson

The purpose of this study was to investigate military officers’ perception of the implicit expectations the organisation has for the officer’s private life and what implications…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to investigate military officers’ perception of the implicit expectations the organisation has for the officer’s private life and what implications it may have for gender norms at the organisation, family and individual levels.

Design/methodology/approach

A qualitative approach, using an inductive thematic analysis, was performed. The data was based on 20 interviews with military officers, including 18 men and 2 women.

Findings

Two main themes, with three subsequent subthemes, were identified. These themes were interpreted as being necessary for the military officer to be able to manage organisational demands. The first included the implicit expectations the organisation had for the family. The three subthemes included the officer’s acceptance of frequent travel demands, adapting private life in accordance to organisational demands and picking a partner that matches the goals of the organisation. The second identified main theme included the military officer’s descriptions of implicit expectations the organisation held for the officer’s partner. Three subthemes were identified, including the partner’s need to be independent and psychologically strong, to take the main responsibility for managing family life and to engage in emotion work with the extended family.

Originality/value

The findings identify important perceptions that military officers have regarding the military’s expectations for their private life and the adaptive behaviors regularly performed. These adaptive behaviors allow the military officer to be able to engage in work that sustains the organisation.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 31 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Gerry Larsson, Carina Brandow, Maria Fors Brandebo, Alicia Ohlsson and Gunnar Åselius

Globalisation of working life means that many organisations are manned by people from different countries. A potentially critical factor is how members from various nations are…

Abstract

Purpose

Globalisation of working life means that many organisations are manned by people from different countries. A potentially critical factor is how members from various nations are looked upon by their partner countries. Such perception may be more or less accurate and affect organisational outcomes. The military is no exception as modern warfare is characterised by multinational composition of task forces. The aim of this paper was to gain a deeper understanding of how military officers from other nations perceive Swedish military officers and their leadership qualities in particular.

Design/methodology/approach

Interviews were conducted with 20 military officers representing ten nations. Interview questions were deduced from the Developmental leadership model. Responses were first coded inductively according to the constant comparative method. Generated categories were then deductively related to this leadership model.

Findings

The analysis resulted in positive and negative patterns. The positive picture included Swedish officers being perceived as calm, competent and generally good at exhibiting exemplary leadership behaviour, showing individualised consideration and creating an inspiring atmosphere. The negative side included opinions such as Swedish officers being too emotionally restrained, exhibiting poor self-confidence, discussing too much before making decisions and having difficulties giving negative feedback. The results are discussed in relation to the Developmental leadership model and the stereotype concept.

Research limitations/implications

Small sample size and a focus on military organisations imply a low degree of generalisability.

Practical implications

Three suggestions regarding Swedish officer education are presented: officer students should be given an increased awareness of how they are perceived by others, decision-making without group support and giving negative feedback in a constructive, straight forward, but still considerate way, should be practiced and more attention should be paid to emotion management.

Originality/value

The paper addresses an increasing tendency in work organisations – a multinational composition of the work force. The foundation of study in leadership theory and the stereotype concept is new.

Details

International Journal of Organizational Analysis, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1934-8835

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 April 2017

Alicia Ohlsson and Gerry Larsson

The aim was to explore the existing literature on emotion and strategic leadership in a systematic review and to synthesize it into a theoretical model. A literature review on…

Abstract

The aim was to explore the existing literature on emotion and strategic leadership in a systematic review and to synthesize it into a theoretical model. A literature review on emotion in connection to strategic leadership was undertaken. After adhering to the search strategy and exclusion criteria, 46 peer-reviewed texts consisting of articles and relevant book chapters remained. The texts were analyzed according to the grounded theory method (GTM) to generate a new theoretical model and a core variable was identified, organizational emotion shaping. The model attempts to show how the interaction of individual and organizational framing factors with the strategic leader's tasks and challenges lead to emotion shaping internal and external of the organization. Suggestions for future research were formed and suggestions of practical implications were given. This literature review and theoretical integration offers a starting point for potential areas of further exploration.

Details

International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, vol. 20 no. 03
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1093-4537

Article
Publication date: 2 November 2015

Gerry Larsson, Fredrik Bynander, Alicia Ohlsson, Erik Schyberg and Martin Holmberg

The purpose of this paper is to gain a deeper understanding of crisis management at the Swedish Government office level in an international crisis by using a multiperspective…

1343

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to gain a deeper understanding of crisis management at the Swedish Government office level in an international crisis by using a multiperspective approach, and paying particular attention to factors contributing favorably to the management process.

Design/methodology/approach

The Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption on Iceland in 2010 was accompanied by an ash cloud that caused serious air traffic problems in large parts of Europe. Interviews were conducted with seven high-level informants at the Swedish Government offices and two informants at the Swedish Aviation Authority. An interview guide inspired by governance, command and control, and leadership perspectives was used.

Findings

A Crisis Coordination Secretariat, organizationally placed directly under the prime minister, coordinated the operation. A combination of mandate (hard power) and social smoothness (soft power) on part of the Crisis Coordination Secretariat contributed to confidence building and a collaboration norm between the ministries, and between the ministries and their underlying agencies. Preparatory training, exercises and a high level of system knowledge on part of the Crisis Coordination Secretariat – contextual intelligence – also contributed to a favorable crisis management.

Research limitations/implications

The study relies on retrospective self-report data only from a limited group of informants making generalizations difficult.

Practical implications

The organizational positioning of the Crisis Coordination Secretariat directly under the prime minister gave its members formal authority. These members in turn skillfully used social flexibility to build confidence and a will to collaborate. This combination of hard and soft power is recommended.

Originality/value

The multiperspective approach used when designing the interview guide and when interpreting the responses was new as well as the focus on factors contributing to crisis management success.

Details

Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 24 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0965-3562

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 2 February 2021

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

576

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to review the latest management developments across the globe and pinpoint practical implications from cutting-edge research and case studies.

Design

This briefing is prepared by an independent writer who adds their own impartial comments and places the articles in context.

Findings

The organizational smooth power consisted of structural smoothness, emotional smoothness and relational smoothness. Four distinct superior categories emerged from the data: the professional background of the leader, professional name-branding, contextual appraisal and organizational smooth power.

Originality

The briefing saves busy executives, strategists and researchers hours of reading time by selecting only the very best, most pertinent information and presenting it in a condensed and easy-to-digest format.

Details

Development and Learning in Organizations: An International Journal, vol. 37 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1477-7282

Keywords

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