Leadership War & Hollywood
October 9, 2019
Leader Member Exchange Theory
In the film, A Bridge Too Far, Lieutenant General Browning uses the Leader Member Exchange Theory when directing his men. The Leader Member Exchange Theory can be described by the relationship between a leader and his or her followers. This relationship is determined by the characteristics possessed by a leader towards their followers that translates into productivity and satisfaction. Lieutenant General Browning using this technique in two juxtaposing ways throughout the film.
At the beginning of the film, Lieutenant General Browning is seen walking to his car alongside Major Fuller. During their conversation, Fuller brings up his concerns about new evidence of tanks being reported from the Arnhem area. Lieutenant General Browning refers to these concerns as rumors and refuses to acknowledge the threat the tanks pose. The act of General Browning blowing off the information from the Dutch Underground reports gives Fuller the sense that his concerns are not valued by his leader. This weakens the relationship between Lieutenant General Browning and Major Fuller.
Despite Lieutenant General Browning’s lack of interest in the information Major Fuller presents to him, Browning ends their conversation by complimenting Fuller. After Fuller’s request to have another low-level reconnaissance in the area was approved, General Browning states that, “I wouldn’t be too concerned about what people think of you. You happen to be somewhat brighter than most of us. Tends to make us nervous.” This statement from General Browning flatters Fuller and solidifies his respect and loyalty to Browning. However, the statement contradicts his previous actions in a way. If General Browning truly believed Fuller was brighter than most of them, he would not have taken his information and concerns with a grain of salt like he did. General Browing excels at forming a relationship between himself and Fuller even if it’s not genuine.
In the film, A Bridge Too Far, Lieutenant General Browning displays the Leader Member Exchange Theory in his interactions with Major Fuller. He displays this theory in the way he interacts with Fuller often in a doubtful manner, yet sometimes in a positive way to keep their relationship intact. Lieutenant General Browning uses the Leader Member Exchange Theory multiple times in the film with his followers.