Generalship and the Art of Senior Command: Historical and Scientific Perspectives
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLL FORT LEAVENWORTH KS
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Based on a review of the literature, this study identifies the qualities and attributes of successful senior commanders at two-star level and above. A taxonomy is developed defining and describing leadership and management as component elements of commandership. Previous studies of senior command have approached the topic from two widely disparate disciplines, history and science. Historical approaches have been based upon the testimony of senior military commanders, the assertions of military theorists, the post hoc analysis of historians, or some combination of the three. The scientific study of senior command is based upon the behavioral sciences of individual, social, and organizational psychology as well as management theory. This study compares and contrasts the findings of these two disciplines of history and science. Large differences in the historical and scientific conceptualizations of senior command were found. These differences reflect divergent means of viewing the world and organizing information. Evidence suggests that the generals intellect, character, and temperament are more important in determinng success at this level than are specific skills, ability, knowledge, or experience. Additionally, significant differences were suggested for the requirements for generalship during war and peace, as well as between staff positions and combat command. A proposal is offered for the reconciliation of the oft times conflicting historical and scientific perspectives of commandership in order to improve the preparation, selection, training, and assignment of general officers.
- Administration and Management