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Social and Leadership Factors Influencing Moral Decision Making in Canadian Military Operations: An Annotated Bibliography

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Military missions for the Canadian Forces CF, including asymmetrical warfare and counter insurgency operations, have become increasingly complex and, as such, there is a greater probability that soldiers of all ranks will confront moral and ethical decisions. As moral and ethical decision making is both challenging in a military operational context Thomson, Adams, Sartori, 2006 and argued to be a social activity Haidt, 2001, military personnel will undoubtedly look to others, including leaders and peers, for guidance or support to make the right choices. To this end, an annotated bibliography was conducted to highlight probably social and leadership factors that will influence moral and ethical behaviour. A number of social factors were identified, including moral disengagement mechanisms such as displacement of responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, and dehumanization ingroupoutgroup differentiation group identity group cohesion and loyalty compliance and conformity false consensus effect and normative social influence or social contagion. Leadership factors included the impact of different kinds of leadership e.g., transactional, transformative, ethical, etc., ethical role modelling, and leadermember interaction. This report also included a preliminary data analysis of CF subject matter experts SMEs first-hand accounts of moral and ethical decisions made in operations to highlight any social and leadership factors that had an influence on this process. It provided some initial insights into some of the social and leadership factors influencing moral decision making, including the false consensus effect, top-down normative social influence, the role of others in moral judgement, moral disengagement, compliance through leader participation, group loyalty and ingroup policing policies, and ingroupoutgroup differentiation. Moreover, participant responses showed strong evidence of ethical leadership and how this impacte

Subject Categories:

  • Administration and Management
  • Information Science
  • Sociology and Law
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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