The Big 12: The Most Important Character Strengths for Military OfficersJournal: Athens Journal of Social Sciences (Vol.4, No. 2)
Publication Date: 2017-04-01
Authors : Ole Boe; Henning Bang;
Page : 161-174
Keywords : Character; Character strengths; Education; Military;
The Norwegian Military Academy's main role is to educate future military leaders for the Norwegian Army. After graduating from the Norwegian Military Academy, these leaders will most likely have to deal with a great deal of responsibility and to cope with challenging and difficult situations. Leadership in these situations will demand a high degree of both intellect and character. Systematic research on the specific character strengths that are crucial to possess for military officers to succeed as military leaders is lacking. The purpose of this study is to investigate the experienced military officer's perception of which character strengths are seen as the most important for military officers in order to succeed as military leaders. A second aim was to investigate if there was any degree of consistency between the character strengths chosen in the present study and those chosen in previous studies. Method: A group of participants consisting of 21 military officers with an average of 10.3 years of active service in the Norwegian Armed Forces took part in the study. The officers were students of the Norwegian Military Academy when the present study was conducted. A list of 24 character strengths was given. The participants were then requested to judge each character's strength separately based on their subjective perception of the character's strengths importance for military officers. As a result 13 character strengths were selected as the most important for military officers and their leadership. These were in ranked order: leadership, teamwork, open-mindedness, integrity, persistence, bravery, curiosity, love of learning, social intelligence, fairness, perspective, creativity and self-regulation. Conclusions: The results from the present study are consistent and thus corroborate well with findings from the four previous studies conducted at the Norwegian Military Academy. In these four previous studies, 12 of the same 12 character strengths were also chosen as the most important ones for military officers. There thus seems to be a very strong consensus among military officers regarding which character strengths that are seen as important for military officers.
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