Challenging Military Leadership and Culture

By Kevin Baker.

Published by The Organization Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Few organisational cultures are as strong as the military culture. In no other culture is the penalty for challenging leadership so severe, for to conspire to challenge military leadership constitutes the capital offence of mutiny. The field of military and naval mutiny is a productive seam to mine for insights into an understanding of leadership and cultural change for two reasons. Firstly, mutiny in the armed forces has occurred frequently in English-speaking armed forces in the twentieth century. Secondly, the topic is not well-studied, partly because mutiny is a subject that many wish to avoid.
Most of the military and naval mutinies of the twentieth century involved small numbers of men, but in six mutinies over the period 1946 to 1972, in the Indian Navy, British Army, and the New Zealand, Canadian, Australian and United States navies, there were large numbers of men involved and their commanders had to make leadership decisions under political and cultural pressure. Their actions and the results offer case studies of leadership under challenge.
In the period post-World-War-II to date, it is clear that military leadership has adjusted to changing cultural values, and the threat of mutiny is not as severe as it once was.

Keywords: Military Leadership, Military Culture, Mutiny

International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp.79-86. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.857KB).

Dr. Kevin Baker

Visiting Fellow, School of Business, Australian Defence Force Academy (UNSW), Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

Dr. Baker is a New Zealander now resident in Australia. He has Master's degrees in Economics and Theology, and took a Ph.D in 1994 with a dissertation on the operations of the Royal Exchange of Sydney. He has since filled academic posts in China and Germany as well as Australia. He has consulted on public sector finance and reform issues in China, Indonesia and Thailand. His published books range from Naval Insurrection (with Dr Tom Frame), to History of Sedition in Australia and New Zealand, to a biography of General Paul Cullen, to Economic Tsunami (an analysis of the growth of China's motor vehicle manufacturing industry).


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