U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in The Leadership Quarterly 14 (2003) 657–692.


The purpose of this article is to review the literature on military leadership and highlight research opportunities for leadership scholars. The review uses a context specific approach and turns to a simplified version of Hunt’s (Hunt, J. G. (1991). Leadership: A new synthesis. Newbury Park, CA: Sage) extended multilevel leadership model as a template to examine the many facets of military leadership. The military leadership literature is stratified into the systems, organizational, and direct levels of leadership with an examination of studies on the critical tasks and individual capabilities required at each level. Additionally, studies on organizational culture and effectiveness at each level are addressed. The article emphasizes that the military is undergoing substantial change as it adjusts to the changing nature of war and a fluid world situation. Based on trends in the military, the review concludes with several general recommendations for future research.