The present study examined failure in an extreme setting within a military parachute training course used to better prepare individuals for combat. A grounded theory analysis of interviews and observations led to four interdependent reasons for failure, three mediating factors of how failure was perceived, and eight ways of coping in how individuals handled failure. Two overarching master themes were established of decision aversion where individuals tend to avoid making decisions regarding their own failure in order to minimize guilt and shame, and externalization where attribution is made primarily to causes outside the self in order to maintain a positive self-image. In a few cases, active measures were taken to overcome failure, most often by the ones with the strongest reactions of surprise and anger, somewhat counterintuitively indicating that the worst reactions bring out the most successful coping. Suggestions for further research and implementation in extreme military training courses are discussed.
"‘‘The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is’’: Handling Failure in Military Parachute Training,"
Journal of Human Performance in Extreme Environments: Vol. 15
Available at: https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/jhpee/vol15/iss1/6