Leadership and Social Identification in Military Units: Direct and Indirect Relationships1

Authors


  • 1

    This study was supported by grants from the Israel Foundation Trustees and the Israel Science Foundation. The authors thank the School for Leadership Development and the Ground Corps Command of the IDF for sponsoring the study.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Boas Shamir, Department of Sociology and Anthropology. The Hebrew University, Jerusalem 91905, Israel.

Abstract

This study examines some antecedents and consequences of social identification in military units. Data were collected from 2 samples in each unit: staff members and soldiers. It was found that identification with the unit was related to 3 categories of leader behavior: an emphasis on collective identity, an emphasis on shared values, and inclusive behaviors. Some of the effects of leader behaviors on members' social identification were mediated by their effects on unit culture. Some of the effects of leader behaviors on the social identification of more distant subordinates (soldiers) were mediated by their effects on the social identification of closer subordinates (staff members). Differential effects of leader behaviors on the 2 levels of subordinates were also discovered.

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