Lone Swede in an International Military Staff Context: A Qualitative Interview Study

  • Aida Alvinius Swedish Defense University
  • Sofia Nilsson Swedish Defence University
  • Claes Wallenius Swedish Defense University
  • Gerry Larsson Swedish Defense University

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the experience of Swedish officers when serving as the only Swedes in a multinational staff context. The methodological approach was qualitative and inductive according to the Grounded Theory method, and the empirical material is based on twenty completed interviews. The informants possessed a wide range of experience in a number of leadership positions as well as extensive participation in international operations. The building of contextual self-esteem is the central theme that emerged in the data analysis that may improve our understanding of officers serving as the only Swedes on an international staff. Contextual self-esteem and its structure can be understood through the following four processes: interpretation, adaptation, influence, and withdrawal. These occur to a greater or lesser extent depending upon both the individual and the context. Contextual self-esteem increases over time as experience of international operations expands. The longer the duration of a mission, the greater the influence becomes in contrast to adaptation, although all the processes are significant. The findings may be valuable in educational settings regarding challenges faced while serving alone during international military missions in multinational contexts.

Author Biographies

Aida Alvinius, Swedish Defense University

Associate Professor

Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Karlstad, Sweden

Sofia Nilsson, Swedish Defence University

University adjunct

Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Karlstad, Sweden

Claes Wallenius, Swedish Defense University

University lecturer

Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Karlstad, Sweden

Gerry Larsson, Swedish Defense University

Professor

Department of Security, Strategy and Leadership, Karlstad, Sweden

Published
2018-12-05
How to Cite
Alvinius, A., Nilsson, S., Wallenius, C., & Larsson, G. (2018). Lone Swede in an International Military Staff Context: A Qualitative Interview Study. FLEKS - Scandinavian Journal of Intercultural Theory and Practice, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.7577/fleks.2615
Section
Research articles