'Conditioned loyalty' and 'military strategic refusal': The military and political psychology of loyalty

Udi Lebel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study illustrates how every organization, even a total institutionsuch as the military, can be analyzed using the "Dependency Theory" andimplements "policy adjustments" to suit the claims, values and beliefs ofvarious groups with which it works. The case study monitors politicalgroups' attempts to change the operational policy of the Israeli DefenseForces (IDF), using the threat of collective insubordination; this is basedon the use of "Conditioned Loyalty" to the organization and itsleadership: Soldiers who continue to abide by civil epistemic authorityfigures who have the power to grant or deny legitimacy to the orders theyreceive. Upon encountering what certain soldiers consider illegitimatepolicy, they will become part of what this study calls "military strategicrefusal" - a collective-political strategy for changing security policy. This is done by creating moral panic that leads the military and official statedecision-makers to change their policies in order to evade a crisis. Thecase-study focuses on the IDF and the ability of the leftist socialmovements in Israel to change the military's policies by threatening itwith insubordination. The article also demonstrates the organization asone which, despite its inherent hierarchy of command, can be influencedby the various groups it is comprised of, even if they are low in the chainof command. Since the Lebanon War in 1982, this course of action hasbecome, as the article shows, an effective political strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPsychology of Loyalty
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages36
ISBN (Print)9781626185722
StatePublished - May 2013


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