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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, Political Motivation, and Military Performance in the Italian Alpini

Cohesion, Political Motivation, and Military Performance in the Italian Alpini

(p.250) 12 Cohesion, Political Motivation, and Military Performance in the Italian Alpini

Chiara Ruffa

Oxford University Press

In some military units, high levels of primary group cohesion do not necessarily lead to high levels of motivation and combat performance. This chapter explores how cohesion, political motivation, and performance combine in a highly specialized and professional force of the Italian Army dedicated to mountain warfare, the Alpini. This case is of particular interest because of its unique combination of features: historically, the Alpini displayed exceptionally high levels of social cohesion coupled with high levels of political autonomy, low levels of political motivation and trust in political leaders and state institutions, and exceptional popularity among the public. While these elements prevented the unit from being particularly effective in conventional military operations, strong cohesion and desire for public support has made the Alpini very effective in contemporary peace and stability operations.

Keywords:   Italian Army, cohesion, political motivation, performance, Alpini

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