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A Question of Faith: Religious Bias and Coercion Undermine Military Leadership and Trust

Armed Forces Journal, pp. 40-43, January 2008

5 Pages Posted: 22 Feb 2008 Last revised: 25 Feb 2008

Barry F. Fagin

US Air Force Academy - Department of Computer Sciences

James E. Parco

Colorado College

Abstract

Using French and Raven's (1959) bases of social power, leadership is defined in terms of a dependency between leader and follower. The authors show how referrent and expert power are critical to the ascientific construct of leadership in predicting the extent to which trust can be created within organizational relationships. Using popular press reports of religious bias within military organizations, the authors illustrate how using one's religious values as a proxy for organizational values not only create a divisive organizational climate, but are counter to the mandates set forth by the US Constitution. The authors introduce the Oath of Equal Character as a potential remedy to the pervasive religiousity noted in government organizations across the US Armed Forces and advocate how the appropriate creation and judicious use of referrent power is chiefly responsible for the emergence of trusting relationships in military organizations.

Keywords: power, leadership, religion, military

JEL Classification: I28, Z00

Suggested Citation

Fagin, Barry F. and Parco, James E., A Question of Faith: Religious Bias and Coercion Undermine Military Leadership and Trust. Armed Forces Journal, pp. 40-43, January 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1096047

Barry F. Fagin

US Air Force Academy - Department of Computer Sciences ( email )

2354 Fairchild Drive
USAF Academy, CO 80908
United States

Jim Parco (Contact Author)

Colorado College ( email )

Department of Economics and Business
14 E. Cache la Poudre St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
United States
719-389-6416 (Phone)
719-389-6927 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.coloradocollege.edu/dept/EC/parco.asp

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