Intrapersonal and interpersonal predictors of leader success in the military : an exploratory study

Grundlingh, Alma
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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
The contemporary military environment characterised by new technologies, advanced capabilities, novel knowledge and skills sets, and an increased participation of non-state actors is leading to a rapidly expanding, non-linear, multi-dimensional battle space. Military operations are becoming more distributed in time, space, and purpose. The military arena is becoming progressively more joint, multinational and interagency in nature. Military leaders have a mounting responsibility to teams and groups and their organisations to accomplish a variety of very diverse missions. Furthermore, military operations other than war have emerged as a fundamental approach to warfare, increasing dispersion of forces across wider areas of influence and rapidly changing situations. Scholars and strategists are of the opinion that militaries are in an era of “new wars”. The latter are contextual elements evident in current conflicts and are likely to be seen in future conflicts as well. Unquestionably, the landscape in which military leaders must operate has affected the competencies and training needed to be successful. The aim of this study was to explore the possible relationships between emotional intelligence (EI), psychological capital (PsyCap), sense of coherence (SOC) and leader success of junior officers in the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). The researcher argues that these intrapersonal and interpersonal skills (EI, PsyCap and SOC) are necessary for any contemporary leader to successfully fulfil his role in his military position and to fit the leadership profile set out by the organisation. The existence of relationships between the variables for this study was statistically investigated and the necessary conclusions were drawn. All the challenges discussed in this study for the SANDF link with each other and “cry” for education in EI, PsyCap and SOC. Future officers of the SANDF need to have the potential, skills, knowledge, education and competency to be specialists in the challenges of the next decade. Education in these variables can possibly assist leaders in their daunting tasks and ultimately contribute to leader success. A sample of 170 (n=170) junior officers, from the rank of Candidate officer (CO) to full Lieutenant (Lt), was drawn from the South African Military Academy (SAMA), Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University. Participants completed existing valid and reliable instruments measuring their EI, PsyCap, SOC and leader success levels. Leader success was measured in terms of extra effort, effectiveness and satisfaction of the leader. Correlation analysis was done to determine the relationships between the independent variables and the dependent variable. Multiple regression analysis was done to determine which of the intrapersonal and interpersonal predictors contributed to leader success of junior officers in the SANDF. The results revealed significant positive relationships between the different components of EI, especially interpersonal EI skills, and the different components of PsyCap and leader success. Significant but low correlations were found for the intrapersonal EI skills, resilience (a component of PsyCap) and leader success. Significant but very low correlations and insignificant correlations were found between SOC and leader success. The multiple regression analysis was in line with the correlation results showing that total PsyCap (the strongest predictor) and total EI significantly made contributions to explaining and predicting leader success. The multiple regression analysis, in line with the correlation results, showed that SOC did not make a contribution to predicting leader success. The conclusion that was drawn from this study was that total EI and total PsyCap contribute to leader success.
Thesis (MComm)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.
South Africa. National Defence Force, Learderhip, Success, Dissertations -- Industrial psychology, Theses -- Industrial psychology