University of Jyväskylä

Dissertation: 20.10.2017 M.A. Heli Häyrynen (The Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics, Management)

Start date: Oct 20, 2017 12:00 PM

End date: Oct 20, 2017 03:00 PM

Location: Mattilanniemi, Agora, Auditorium 3

Heli Häyrynen Picture:
M.A. Heli Häyrynen defends her doctoral dissertation in Management ”Sotilaita vai seikkailijoita? Varusmiespalveluksen johtajakoulutuksen merkityksiä naisille uran ja johtamisosaamisen kannalta”. Opponent Adjunct Professor KTT Mikko Luoma (University of Vaasa) and custos Professor Anna-Maija Lämsä (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in Finnish. 


This thesis examines women in military leadership training in Finnish military service. The aim of this empirical study is to explore the meanings of military leadership training to young women from a career and leadership competency viewpoint. The study reply to the following research questions: 1) How do women describe the meanings of military leadership training to their career? Why did the women voluntarily participate in military service? What did the women tell they pursued while participating in voluntary military leadership training from a career point of view? What kind of factors for early career advantages or obstacles did the narratives include for the women? What kind of agency did the female conscripts produce in their narratives in relation to voluntary military leadership training? 2) How do the women describe the meanings of military leadership training to their leadership competency?

This study understands military leadership training as a process which primary aim is to develop participants’ competency, which is needed to successfully perform military leadership tasks. The study follows a social constructionist approach and adopts narrative methodology while investigating the topic.

The data was collected from one military class by interviewing all women from two platoons, who had been selected to undergo leadership training (N=45). The data consists of biographical narrative interviews. The study uses the Greimas actant model (1980) to analyze the data. In this study the Atlas.ti-programm was used to support the data analysis.

This study furthers understanding of leadership training by voicing the female point of view in military context. Empirically this study produced new information of sensemaking to women’s military leadership training and leadership competency. Furthermore, the modalities as well as what kinds and degrees of agency – strong or weak – women constructed in their stories were examined.

As a result of the study, four different, individual and unique military leadership training story types were created. They are called: Toward a Military Career-story, Gap year-story, Adventure-story and Not a Princess-story.

The results of my study show how this phenomenon encountered by women is experienced and constructed by them and what kind of meanings they give to it. My results show that sensemaking of leadership training is a multidimensional phenomenon. Additionally, the findings point out that change in leadership competency during the military leadership training is a process where women construct the developmental change they experienced as part of their whole life context. The training is also connected to the identity construction of young women.

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