Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Kent C. Halverson, PhD


Decades ago, military sociologists predicted a rising trend among officers away from traditional institutional military values and toward more economically-based occupational values due to the effects of the transition from a conscription-based military to an all-volunteer force. Subsequent empirical research resulted in data that supports such predictions. More recent researchers have suggested that in addition to the all-volunteer force, an increase on technology may also accelerate the trend toward occupationalism and away from traditional institutional military values and the warrior ethos that typically define successful military organizations. The officer corps may be particularly vulnerable to occupationalism due to increased technical specialization and the corporate mindset that is evolving within the service, potentially resulting in reduced organizational commitment and a greater reliance on extrinsic motivational incentives. The purpose of this study is to investigate the influence of rank structures on professionalism in the context of Moskos’ institutional versus occupational (I/O) professionalism model. Previous studies utilizing the I/O model have been primarily limited to Air Force officers and suggest a trend toward occupationalism among this group. This study proposes that a much broader sample of Air Force personnel is required to determine the magnitude of this trend, both in the officer ranks as well as the NCO ranks. This study analyzes the roots of military professionalism, considers the impact of recent transformations in the military, and makes recommendations about enhancing professionalism within the Air Force among all ranks.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number