Department of Political Science

The Power of Experience? Innovative and Authoritative Leadership Values Among Danish Army Cadets

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Traditionally, the military is seen as an unequivocally authoritarian organization. With survey data collected at the Royal Danish Military Academy, this study shows that that is a qualified truth. Thus, cadets enrolled directly from the noncommissioned officer corps—those most acquainted with the norms of the armed forces—do not weigh authoritarian leadership values over nonauthoritarian ones. Instead, their view reflects that for the experienced leader, the context, and not overt ideals, enables them to choose the leadership tools they expect will prove most effective. On the contrary, cadets enrolled based on their civilian merits clearly prioritize authoritarian values. This is particularly true among cadets returning to the military after a break, former professionals, and former draftees alike. Their view also reflects experience, but a different kind of experience, as they have primarily encountered the military hierarchy from the receiving end.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Pages (from-to)70-91
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

    Research areas

  • cadets, competing values framework, military organization, pragmatism, professionalism/leadership

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