Call for Papers

Workshop on Total Defence Workforces

Date: 6-7 May 2021

Venue: Our hope is that the workshop can be held at the Swedish Centre for Studies of the Armed Forces and Society at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden. If this is not possible due to travel restrictions or other circumstances connected to the COVID-19 pandemic, the workshop may be partly or entirely online.

Deadline for submission of abstracts: 30 Nov 2020

This workshop is being organized through a collaboration between the Canadian Defence and Security Network (CDSN; ), the Total Defence Force working group of the European Research Group for Military and Society (ERGOMAS; ), and the Swedish Centre for Studies of Armed Forces and Society (CSMS;

Workshop Description: Defence workforces are complex, comprising regular force military members, reservists, defence civil servants, and contractors working for private military and security companies.

These groups of personnel are employed towards the same overarching goals related to national and international security, and are often highly integrated in the performance of their functions. At the same time, despite the often high levels of partnership and integration, different personnel management systems are in place. These cultural differences affect their integration, the nature and quality of their collaboration, and ultimately affect personnel outcomes such as performance and retention, as well as organisational and operational effectiveness. Defence organizations around the world are increasingly recognizing the importance of optimizing the intragroup employment, as well as the intergroup integration, of defence personnel and many are adopting terminology to imply they form a cohesive whole [select examples include, the Defence Team (Canada), the Whole Force Concept (United Kingdom), One Defence Team (Sweden), Total Defence Workforce (New Zealand), Total Force Concept (United States), and the Adaptable Force (Netherlands)].

Since most research has traditionally focused on regular force military personnel, gaps in research on personnel in the other components – that is, research focused on reservists, defence civilians, and defence contractors, will be addressed in the context of this workshop.

Key questions include:

  • What is the right mix of these groups in delivering on the defence mandate? In what roles?
  • How should they be optimally employed and integrated into a cohesive whole to meet the defence mandate?
  • What is the role of culture, identity and other relational issues in shaping whole force integration and collaboration?
  • What are the main personnel management and organizational factors affecting these workforces in defence organizations?
  • What are the main considerations related to the roles, integration, and collaboration among these groups in deployed settings?
  • Overall, what are the challenges and enablers both within and between these components, including both intergroup and intragroup topics?
  • What are the best practices, strategies, programmes and policies for effective management related to Total Defence Forces?

Interested participants should submit abstracts (300 words maximum) detailing their proposed paper to Irina Goldenberg at, no later than 30 Nov 2020. Letters of acceptance will be sent out 14 December 2020.

The intent of this workshop is to produce a special issue of a scholarly journal or an edited book providing the latest information, research, and analysis related to total defence workforces. As such, draft chapters will be required to be submitted prior to the workshop, and no later than 30 April 2021.

If circumstances allow, funding for travel (air or train tickets) and accommodations will be available for workshop participants. Information about practical arrangements, including an update on the workshop format, will be sent out with the acceptance letters.

On behalf of the organizing committee, Irina Goldenberg, Stéfanie von Hlatky, and Joakim Berndtsson – we look forward to receiving your abstracts!

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Call for Papers