Leadership in the Profession of Arms

Sean T. Hannah and Walter J. Sowde

in The Oxford Handbook of Leadership

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780195398793
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Leadership in the Profession of Arms


This chapter reviews the unique causations and contingencies influencing leadership in military contexts, and evaluates how the context influences individual, dyadic, and collective leadership processes. An exemplary ethic is important for any profession of arms. Leadership in military settings may vary between stages of preparation, in situ action, and recovery from dangerous events. Beyond attraction and selection processes, militaries produce “strong” situational influence and socialization processes, and also develop forms of leadership through social learning. The attraction, selection, and attrition (ASA) model can make unique homogeneity effects in militaries associated with both demographic and values diversity. Then, the chapter describes the representative effects of the military context related to emotions and physiological reaction, sense making, cognition and judgment, identity and self-complexity, states and traits, and motivation. Context and group social phenomenon should be considered in models of military leadership.

Keywords: military leadership; profession of arms; socialization; social learning; ASA model; emotions; cognition; judgment; motivation; sense making

Article.  15223 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology

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