Ledelse i militære højrisikoteams

Jakob Rømer Barfod

Research output: Book/ReportPhD thesis

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High-risk military teams work in complex contexts. Soldiers in high-risk military teams need to cooperate to perform planned and unplanned tasks that require close coordination and clear communication. This cooperation can be demanding in itself, but becomes even more challenging due to the fact that it often takes place under difficult climatic conditions, time pressure and unfamiliar cultural conditions. At the same time, the soldiers must continuously adapt to possible changes in the tactical environment and relate to the demands of other stakeholders, such as foreign units and the local population. Furthermore, they are required to work closely with both other coalition partners and local military forces, in another language or through the use of interpreters. This thesis closely examines practice and how soldiers in high-risk teams coordinate actions through leadership, how – in their interaction in situ – they create meaning in the complex work context, and how they deal with various forms of irregularities and uncertainties.
The analyses in the thesis are based on various forms of empirical material with focus on in situ video recordings, supplemented with interviews of soldiers and teams and observations of and active participation in the soldiers' work activities. The empirical material has been collected in small units from the Danish defence operations in Afghanistan, with special focus on the deployment of a particular unit in 2018. The thesis takes an ethnomethodological perspective and is centred on three analyses that seek to answer how leadership is conducted by high-risk military teams in connection with the practical task solution prior to and during deployment in the field, including the handling of irregularities. Through micro-analyses – in particular in the form of multimodal interaction analyses of tactical deployments – the analysis chapters reveal how the soldiers, for example through routines and bodily interaction, coordinate and create direction and meaning in their daily, complex work context, and how the soldiers handle various unexpected problems in their work and the uncertainties created by these problems.
By studying the situated practices of high-risk military teams, this research project contributes to an extended understanding of how leadership in a military context is actually performed. It is concluded that the soldiers coordinate their actions through leadership by drawing on their military professional vision, thereby producing results. Across the analyses, it is shown how the body, speed, a well-developed role understanding, focus and innovative readiness constitute essential resources in the generation of leadership and thus are essential to be able to handle and create meaning in the sometimes-complex tactical situation. Theoretically, the thesis especially contributes to the research areas on military leadership and leadership in interaction, and particularly to the sparsely developed practice-oriented branches of these research areas, by showing the situated and interactional practices that soldiers perform, how coordination, meaning and order are created through these practices, and how the situated practices are included as a normal part of the overall everyday practice.
Original languageDanish
Place of PublicationFrederiksberg
PublisherCopenhagen Business School [Phd]
Number of pages389
ISBN (Print)9788793956889
ISBN (Electronic)9788793956896
Publication statusPublished - 2021
SeriesPhD series

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