Group cohesion of military units in the context of civil-military relations in Ukraine

Keywords: group cohesion, the military, civil-military relations, social psychology.


The purpose of this article is to demonstrate that in the current economic and political situation in Ukraine the implicit competition between military and civilian groups with relatively equal status can have a significant impact on the group cohesion of small military units. Methods and materials. This research focuses on the primary level of group cohesion, which is achieved by members of military unit through a process of assimilation the group’s idealized prototype. Small groups, the number of which is comparable to a platoon (25- 30 people), were studied. The use of interdisciplinary research methods, namely the psycholinguistic method of associative experiment, for the study of group cohesion of small military units makes it possible to expand the scope of analysis to a broader context and demonstrate the heuristic potential of psycholinguistic methods in studying the peculiarities of the macro-political order, the integral part of which is the army. The choice of several stimulus words and a comparative analysis of associations to these words enable to distinguish a two-level factor plan that contributes to the formation of group cohesion of a small military unit. Results and Discussion. At the first level, group cohesion is shaped by internal factors based on various aspects of similarity: 1) equal status within the boundaries of the military organization; 2) undertaking common tasks both during combat operations and military training; 3) commonality of identity and beliefs; 4) similar future prospects; 5) experience of common difficulties. At the second level, group cohesion is shaped by relations of power, political order, regime and individual institutions. Conclusions. In the context of Ukraine, the group cohesion of small military units is largely determined by attitudes toward a competing civilian group with relatively equal status. The main prerequisite for the emergence of this form of conflict is the situation where the reason to study at military institutes is the opportunity to get a civilian specialty in addition to the military one for free. Acquiring fundamental theoretical and professional competencies approximately equal to competencies acquired at civilian universities by students, cadets feel resource stress, which results in the creation of “cadet – student” opposition and different patterns of prejudice and discrimination towards civilians.


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How to Cite
Khraban, T. E., Silko, O. V., & Khraban, I. A. (2022). Group cohesion of military units in the context of civil-military relations in Ukraine. Insight: The Psychological Dimensions of Society, (7), 75-89.