Combat Bunker to the Corporate Boardroom

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The research on the topic of leadership management is substantial, filled with primary and secondary sources covering the various aspects of theoretical and practical discussions. However, the literature review on the selected question of transferring military leadership traits into a business requires one to consider several areas of the scholarship and find whether works that explore this connection already exist. This paper introduces the process of researching and analyzing articles discussing various types of leadership and the foundation of military leadership as a preparatory step for writing an insightful literature review.


The search strategy for literature focused on a deductive method of information retrieval, shifting from generalizations to more specific elements concerning military leadership. At first, general literature was reviewed to establish a base of current state of research in leadership management research. The search then transitioned to finding literary sources of a scientific or methodological nature regarding military leadership. Multiple databases were used including Google Scholar that led to articles on various other databases such as Wiley, SAGE, and Taylor & Francis. Also, a business/management-oriented database Emerald Insight was utilized for the search.

Key words were utilized to narrow down search, first using general “military leadership in business” and then transitioning to search for specific elements such as “military leadership workplace environment.” Literature was selected based on titles and abstracts, isolating those that directly dealt with military leadership in a non-military environment, which produced very few articles. The researcher then attempts to categorize and identify patterns in literature that can produce insightful and comprehensive information on the topic in a scholarly fashion.

Literature Review Draft Sample

Currently, transformational and transactional leadership types are at the center of scholarly investigation. Historically, the popularity of transactional leadership has fallen, while the value of the transformational approach has increased. Al Khajeh (2018), Jensen et al. (2019), and Samanta and Lamprakis (2018) discuss the various achievements of this leadership type, including its positive effect on employee’s job satisfaction and their view of the leader as effective.

The majority of both older and more recent studies conclude that this leadership approach has many benefits for the organization and its workers. However, negative effects are noted as well, with Chen et al. (2018) suggesting that transformational leadership can adversely affect performance if the employees are not driven enough to respond to transformational leadership strategies. Pivoting away from employees to employers, Lin et al. (2018) discover that leaders choosing a transformational approach are more likely to develop emotional exhaustion and subsequently leave their position.

Several studies introduce the idea of using military leadership practices in non-military organizations to improve their performance. One of the more recent investigations written by Kirchner and Akdere (2017) explores the possibility of using military leadership development tactics in commercial training. The authors suggest that some traits of military leadership development can contribute to human resource training.

In particular, Kirchner and Akdere (2017) highlight the establishment of core values for all employees and a dynamic supervisor-employee relationship. Roberts (2018) presents the twelve principles that should guide modern military leadership, describing such concepts as leading from the front, having self-confidence, fostering teamwork, being decisive, and others. This recollection of necessary traits from a person with actual command experience can be used in the present project as a foundation for military leadership theory to be integrated into the corporate setting. Although it considers leadership strictly in the field of military activities, its explanation of leadership is general enough to use it in a civilian organization.

Project Progress: Issues, Changes, Considerations

As noted above, the scholarship investigating leadership theories is plentiful. In particular, the different types of leadership are discussed frequently, with such ideas as transformational and transactional leadership constituting a major part of all studies. Other dimensions considered by a limited number of studies include authentic, ethical, and servant leadership. However, the dyad of transactional and transformational leadership remains the most represented one in research. This field contains a variety of quantitative and qualitative studies reviewing the different influences of these leadership styles on the organization, performance, and employees (Deshwal & Ashraf Ali, 2020). Thus, it is appropriate to center the discussion on these two theories of leadership in the future literature review.

Another essential part of the investigation is concerned with sources about military leadership. It should be noted that the majority of existing papers focus on military management and leadership as a separate discussion, without including the ideas of business into it. Nevertheless, this is one of the only recent studies of such a connection between military and civilian leadership development, which exposes a lack of success in obtaining relevant research to support the foundation of this paper.

In the originality/value statement, Kirchner & Akdere (2017) note, “A review of existing literature revealed little evidence of examining the military’s approach to developing leaders, even though employers claim to hire veterans because of their leadership abilities” (p.357). One has to resort to older articles to enrich the understanding of this topic in the literature review. There exists a dearth of papers that consider military leadership strategies for non-military organizations – such investigations could strengthen the present project and provide some data for comparison and further study.

While there is a notable lack of literature, there are some insights provided on military leadership. For example, Kirchner & Akdere (2017) identify four development strategies that can be applied in commercial leadership training as well. Roberts (2018) highlights various principles of military leadership that can be compared and contrasted with traditional business leadership styles. Deshwal & Ashraf Ali (2020) examine theoretical backgrounds that are relevant to the literature review as well.

Nevertheless, there are significant elements of information not being found in these sources, particularly in the sense of more practical applications of military leadership in a business environment. As mentioned earlier, many companies hire veterans with the emphasis of leadership skills, but how these are applied in the workplace and day-to-day or large project management is relatively unknown in the current scholarly literature.

Potentially deeper investigative research, particularly into books on the topic rather than journals, can provide more insight. It can be useful to expand time frames as well on the research, especially considering the narrow nature of topic. Older research can be beneficial as well since military leadership styles tend to change very slowly due to the conservative nature of the organization. However, the general conclusion from the inquiry for this literature review is that while there is information on general theoretical research, practical and applied research on military leadership in business is lacking.


The research surrounding leadership types evolves slowly, as the ideology built on such types of transactional and transformational is not challenged frequently or with substantial scientific support. Nevertheless, a growing number of investigations begin finding flaws in the transformational leadership model, calling for an in-depth look into different potential sources of improvements.

The literature review will look into this shift and present military leadership principles alongside the recent scholarship of transformational and other leadership types to support the project’s objectives. Overall, it is vital to add the more recent scholarship to the existing draft and focus on what is being discussed now rather than one or two decades ago. This change is vital as businesses evolve rapidly, and the generational switch in employee circles requires using recent scholarship to review the pressing leadership problems in the workplace.


Al Khajeh, E. H. (2018). Impact of leadership styles on organizational performance. Journal of Human Resources Management Research, 2018, 1-10.

Chen, Y., Ning, R., Yang, T., Feng, S., & Yang, C. (2018). Is transformational leadership always good for employee task performance? Examining curvilinear and moderated relationships. Frontiers of Business Research in China, 12(1), 1-28.

Deshwal, V., & Ashraf Ali, M. (2020). A systematic review of various leadership theories. Shanlax International Journal of Commerce, 8, 38-43.

Jensen, U. T., Andersen, L. B., Bro, L. L., Bøllingtoft, A., Eriksen, T. L. M., Holten, A. L., Jacobsen, C. B., Ladenburg, J., Nielsen, P. A., Salomonsen, H. H., Westergård-Nielsen, N., & Würtz, A. (2019). Conceptualizing and measuring transformational and transactional leadership. Administration & Society, 51(1), 3-33.

Kirchner, M., & Akdere, M. (2017). Military leadership development strategies: Implications for training in non-military organizations. Industrial and Commercial Training, 49(7/8), 357-364.

Lin, S., Scott, B., & Matta, F. (2018). The dark side of transformational leader behaviors for leaders themselves: A conservation of resources perspective. The Academy of Management Journal, 62(5), 1-59.

Roberts, R. (2018). Twelve principles of modern military leadership. NCO Journal, 1-8.

Samanta, I., & Lamprakis, A. (2018). Modern leadership types and outcomes: The case of Greek public sector. Management: Journal of Contemporary Management Issues, 23(1), 173-191.

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