Date of Award

Spring 5-1998

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies


From a leadership perspective the dysfunctional relationship between President Truman and General MacArthur throughout the Korean conflict serves as an explicit reminder of the importance in developing functional leader-follower relations in any given context. Based on a general historical account of the Korean War up to the point of MacArthur's dismissal, this research will attempt to provide an understanding of the dysfunctional professional and personal relationships that existed between the President and the General. The focus of this research will begin by outlining all pertinent historical facts relating to the developing conflict between Truman and MacArthur during the Korean War. The historical account will examine those critical events in between the United States' official involvement in Korea and MacArthur's dismissal that exemplify the strained relationship between the primary actors. This fundamental understanding of their differing political and military objectives will support the assertion that Truman and MacArthur had a dysfunctional leader-follower relationship. Next, this research will reveal unique insight into both men's personality styles so as to depict their distinct psychological traits and behaviors. From these assessments, it will become evident that the conflict between Truman and MacArthur was not only based on the historical findings of opposing military and political objectives, but that it was also deeply rooted in their differing personality attributes. Finally, building upon the historical and psychological variables, a close examination of Truman and MacArthur's preferred conflict management styles will be employed in order to determine in what manner and how effectively each individual managed conflict.