Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Sharon G. Heilmann, PhD


The Air Force is currently undertaking one of the largest manpower transformations since its creation in 1947 through a program entitled Force Shaping. By separating 40,000 active duty members, to include 8,000 Company Grade Officers (CGOs), the Air Force intends to balance the skills of its personnel to meet the requirements of the Global War on Terror. Given these increasing operational commitments, issues impacting personnel retention decisions within a leaner force should command our attention. As personnel resources decrease and operational requirements increase, the likelihood of military members experiencing conflicts between work and home life may also increase. As such, this research examined the impact of work and family influences on CGOs’ decisions to stay or depart the service. Data to investigate this impact was collected via web-based surveys of CGOs from three CONUS-based Air Force units. Specifically, a construct entitled work-home conflict, which describes the conflicts resulting from competing role demands of family and work, was used to predict retention decisions of military officers--a population that has been largely unrepresented in the management literature.
Results indicated that work-related variables, such as work overload, stress, and advancement expectations, appeared to have no significant impact on CGOs’ turnover intentions; a finding contrary to previous work-family literature which suggests work-related experiences are more likely to predict turnover intentions than family-related issues. Perceived family satisfaction with military life did significantly impact retention decisions, suggesting members considered their families’ satisfaction with military life above their own work-related attitudes when making retention decisions. Finally, results indicated that as family members’ general satisfaction with military life improved, a corresponding positive impact on the members’ willingness to remain in the service resulted. Because results indicated family satisfaction with military life appears to affect members’ retention decisions, the policy implications of this research are significant. As the value of the role that family satisfaction plays on members’ retention decisions becomes more evident, strategic decision-making related to retention programs should incorporate more family-centric components. By developing retention programs that consider and overtly embrace the “whole family,” the Air Force may increase the possibility of retaining its best personnel while also encouraging and retaining the support of their families.

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