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Title: Strategic leadership : a study of the business and military sectors
Author: Barnard, Susan Elizabeth Graham
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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The British military is undergoing significant restructuring •as a consequence of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review. This includes deep personnel cuts across the three Services that will see high numbers of former officers seeking to establish second careers. This research is focussed on the transferable nature of strategic leadership and decision-making skills from the military to the business sector. It is contended in the literature that effective leadership results in higher organisational performance and that the primary role of an effective strategic leader is arguably decisive decision-making. Despite the common perception that senior British officers arc effective leaders and decision-makers, there is a gap in the literature in relation to transferability which this study seeks to redress. A multiple case study methodology is employed based primarily on semi-structured interviews with business and military strategic leaders and participants who have successfully established second careers in business. Interview questions founded in the existing literature were refined through discussions in a focus group and subsequently piloted to determine contemporary relevance. Interview data was transcribed and then analysed using NVivo software. As the study comprises maximum variation cases, commonality within the findings consequently provides a sound foundation from which to make generalisations regarding strategic decision-making processes of leaders. The findings confirm the transferability of strategic decision-making skills from the military to the business context and make a novel contribution to the field . It was found that whilst the agreed upon organisational process is imp0l1ant as a framework, it is the approach to power, politics and conflict that makes the difference in effective decision-making. Military pai1icipants also reported prioritising decision-pacing over achieving consensus where their business counterparts preferred to prioritise consensus because it was perceived as the foundation for effective implementation. Implications for practice resulting from the work show business perceptions of military leaders were found to be positive but demonstrated a lack of understanding of the skills required for effective military strategic decision-making. To foster better understanding of senior officers' potential to improve organisational performance in the business environment, it is recommended that this proven transferability of military skills to the business sector is publicised. It is also proposed that officers plan their career transition far earlier than current practice advises 10 ensure that their experience is appropriately accredited, for example through membership of professional bodies. This will aid in civilianising experience and qualifications and case the transition process on retirement. Mid-career postings that include exposure to industry are recommended to further assist in this accreditation and to expose officers to the business environment.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available