The Power of Experience? Innovative and Authoritative Leadership Values Among Army Cadets
This study challenges that expectation. Based on survey data with two types of cadets – recruited either from the rank and file or among civilian BAs – it is shown that future officers with a civilian background are much more authoritarian when it comes leadership values than their fellow cadets from the military. The paper offers two different – albeit not necessarily competing – explanations for this finding: It can be seen either as a result of the power of experience. Those who have tried leadership in practice know that leniency sometimes works best. Or it may be seen as a result of a general thrust towards more innovative and inclusive approaches to leadership in society at large, a thrust that is now also affecting the military professions. Unlike the newcomers, those who have been socialised into this profession have already learned to perceive such values as superior to other approaches.