The influence of army structures on moral behaviour during the police actions in the Dutch Indies (1946-1949)

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Moral disengagement is a concept whereby one is able to act immorally without feeling self-sanctions. Research has shown that certain structural characteristics of an organization relate to moral disengagement. In this research this is studied in a historical international military mission. This research seeks to investigate the structure of the Dutch army during the Indonesian War of Independence in relation to two types of moral disengagement. The research question of this research is: Do the type of formalization and degree of centralization influence displacement and diffusion of responsibility as mechanisms of moral disengagement in the case of the Dutch army during the Indonesian Independence War (1945-1950)? To answer this research, question a theoretical case study is done. Main sources of this research are 10 interviews with soldiers of 8 RS, a Dutch regiment of war volunteers. The results of this study suggest that structural factors do indeed have an influence on mechanisms of moral disengagement. This relation could be identified in three different kinds of moral situations. Three dimensions of formalization, external transparency, flexibility and repair, had an influence on displacement of responsibility in the case. A high centralization influenced both diffusion and displacement of responsibility.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen