Th-OR-S19-3 - Framing The Psychological Contract On Loyalty Within The Swedish Armed Forces - Exploring The Expectations Of A Desired Virtue

Psychological Contracts
Oral Presentation
Part of:
15 minutes
Employment relations
Psychological contracts
Framing the psychological contract on loyalty within the Swedish Armed Forces - Exploring the expectations of a desired virtue
T. Engelkes*
Content: Purpose: Although loyalty is a frequently used term in organizational research, and particularly in military settings, it is vaguely defined within military contexts This study explores top level military officers’ experiences and expectations concerning peer and subordinate loyalty as an aspect of the psychological contract.
Methodology: Interview data from 12 top level military officers within the Swedish Armed Forces, all holding positions likely to have a significant influence on the personnel of the Swedish Armed Forces, was analyzed using thematic analysis.
Results: The interview data indicate that the decomposition of a frequently used and therefore presumed familiar concept – loyalty – reveals a more complex structure than first expected by the participants themselves. The preliminary result show a relative coherent but faceted and possibly dilemmatic view of what is perceived to be loyal behavior. Accordingly the result indicate that commanding officers on all levels are likely to get into dilemmatic situations when large personal risks are at stake – risking one’s professional reputation and career; risking in-group exclusion; and of course - being the ultimate consequence of the profession - risking one’s health and life including the life of other people.
Limitations: The results are derived from the top level of the organization only and therefore employee perspectives of the suggested psychological contract on loyalty are not examined.
Implications: The preliminary result of the study indicates that the understanding and acceptance of the organizational higher means and mission is crucial in order to enhance the desired loyalty and reduce undesired loyalties such as hierarchical or opportunistic loyalty.
Originality: Research on loyalty within organizations with very high demands on self-sacrificial behavior is relatively scarce. The used sample gives a unique possibility in the framing of an aggregated organizational psychological contract concerning a certain virtue.

Stockholm University/Swedish National Defence College
PhD Candidate

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