Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Daniel T. Holt, PhD


Mentoring has been identified as a significant contributor to employee performance and development. Debate has come about as result of implementation of formal mentoring programs where mentors are assigned to protégés as opposed to informal relationship formed out of mutual respect and liking. Secondary data, including measures of leader member exchange, similarity, contact time, and others, were used from a 1998 survey of company grade officers (protégés) and their formal and informal mentors. Analysis of Variance compared mean values between formally and informally mentored protégés. Additionally, a logistic regression was used to understand the impact that different measures had on the protégé’s decision to identify an informal mentor. Leader Member Exchange, Similarity, Contact Time, and Military Status (active duty versus civilian) all were identified as having a significant impact on a protégés decision to identify an informal mentor. Since the United States Air Force has implemented a formal mentoring program this study offers suggestions of ways which formal relationships can be improved. By focusing on leader member exchange concepts supervisors can become more successful formal mentors. Additionally, Air Force members should also be encouraged to engage in informal mentoring relationships in order to fully capitalize upon the benefits of mentoring.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number