The purpose of this research study was to identify leadership strategies and practices for overcoming adversity in military organizations. This entailed determining what challenges military leaders face in implementing practices aimed at fostering resilience in their organizations. Also examined was how military leaders measure success at fostering resilience in their organizations. Finally, this study considered what recommendations military leaders would make to aspiring leaders wanting to foster resilience in their own organizations in the future. The researcher used a phenomenological approach that incorporated interviews and content analysis. The population for this study was United States Marine Corps infantry officers who commanded battalions in a war zone in Iraq or Afghanistan between 2003 and 2014. The results of this study suggest that the personal attributes that enable military leaders to overcome adversity during combat operations are: (1) educated and trained, (2) physically fit, and (3) believing in God. This study suggests that the foundational practices for overcoming adversity in military organizations are: (1) build cohesion in the organization by conducting small unit training, (2) create a positive command climate in the organization, and (3) instill a sense of purpose in the organization. This study suggests that the pre-deployment practices for fostering resilience in military organizations are: (1) demonstrate character to subordinates, (2) win the affection of subordinates, (3) design training for the organization that builds competence and confidence, (4) design realistic training for the organization that creates adversity, and (5) manage expectations about war. This study suggests that the deployment practices for overcoming adversity in military organizations are: (1) share in the danger with subordinates, (2) be calm and confident on the battlefield, (3) focus on the mission, (4) do not second-guess decisions, (5) talk about the casualties and killing, (6) keep the unit moving after casualties and killing, (7) keep subordinates informed, and (8) empower small unit leadership.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Command of troops; Leadership -- Study and teaching
Date of Award
Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Coughlin, Eugene, "Fostering resilience: leader strategies and practices for overcoming adversity in military organizations" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 913.