Leadership War and Hollywood
Leader Member Exchange Theory
Leader Member Exchange Theory is based on the importance of relationships between leader and follower. Moreover it emphasizes that there are two types of groups there is the “in group” and the “out group” this idea of being a part of the in group is highlighted in A Bridge Too Far between the relationship that Sargent Dohun has for Captain Glass. From fairly early on in the movie Sargent Dohun expresses his care for Captain Glass expressing he is in Sargent Dohun’s “in group”.
We first meet these two characters in a tent where Captain Glass is drinking alcohol laying on his bed and Sargent Dohun is sitting at the table, smoking a cigarette. Captain Glass expresses his worry about dying. Initially not phased, Sargent Dohun says that drinking so much is not going to help his problem, but the conversation gets more serious Captain Glass asks Sargent Dohun to promise that he will not die. Sargent Dohun expresses that nothing can promise that but after some persistence he responds quite seriously to the captain that he promises that he will not die. This is a great example of the dyadic relationship that a leader has with an “in-group” follower, because their conversation begins as laid back and speaking to each other as equals, but then as the intensity of the conversation grows Sargent Dohun agrees and promises something to his subordinate that he would never normally promise someone in the same position but however because it was Captain Glass, Sargent Dohun made this promise with him.
Another great example was when Sargent Dohun went looking for Captain Glass after he was shot in the head. Sargent Dohun endangers himself by hopping in a jeep and driving through a group of Germans to bring Captain Glass back to the medical tent. However, he is refused by the doctor to treat Capt. Glass and told to throw him in the pile of dead soldiers. Sarget Dohun will not take no for an answer and places the injured Captain Glass on the table, then pulls a gun on the doctor to properly motivate him to fix Captain Glass. In doing so Sargent Dohun is directly risking his place in the army and would get arrested. Having a leader stand up and take care of you at their own expense shows this dyadic relationship of being a part of this special “in group” not only will they get more information and influence along with a whole slew of other perks, the most important is more care. Sargent Dohun never would have done this for any old soldier but the fact the soldier in question was a member of his “in group” emphasis the impact that Leader Member exchange leadership theory has in the army particularly portrayed by these two characters.
Everyone wants to be a part of the “in group” their will be many perks that go along with being a member, none more so than caring. In A Bridge Too Far Sargent Dohun displays this care towards Captain Dohun that he never would show for any other soldier because of their dyadic relationship they built over time that explains the reason Sargent Dohun makes promises that he can never promise, such as Captain Glass’s life in war, as well as when he is injured putting his own neck and career on the line just to save Captain Glass’s life.