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FrontlineCombat and Cohesion in Twenty-First Century$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.001.0001

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Cohesion and Misconduct

Cohesion and Misconduct

The French Army and the Mahé Affair

(p.234) 11 Cohesion and Misconduct

Pascal Vennesson

Oxford University Press

In complex peace operations, why and how does cohesion, a key factor that helps soldiers fight together and risk themselves for their comrades, lead them to unethical and unlawful behaviour? The chapter seeks to address two gaps in the military cohesion literature. First, it shows empirically how command affects military performance—both collective action and cohesion—during the course of an operation. Second, deviant cohesion commonly refers to situations in which subgroup solidarities overturn organizational goals. By contrast, the chapter explores a situation in which deviant cohesion supports organizational goals at the tactical and operational levels but generate a misconduct with important consequences at the strategic and political levels. These arguments are assessed by using fresh empirical evidence to examine the ‘Mahé affair’, in which French military personnel were found guilty of murder of an Ivorian man accused of robbery and abuses.

Keywords:   French Army, obedience, deviant cohesion, abuse, Ivory Coast, Mahé

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