Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

Alfred E. Thal, Jr., PhD


Leaders initiate policies not only to improve the success of their organizations, but to influence employee performance, whereby employee attitudes toward a policy objective can influence their resulting behaviors. One group of employees, Air Force officers, experienced a policy change in 2005 that discontinued the use of academic degrees as criteria for officer promotions. With this change, there is a concern that the number of Air Force officers with graduate degrees might decrease. In particular, senior leaders in the Civil Engineer (CE) officer career field are concerned that this policy change might reduce the number of officers available to fill critical positions identified as requiring a graduate degree. This study used a web-based survey to assess the attitudes of CE officers toward pursuing graduate degrees and revealed that their attitudes were not impacted by the policy change. In fact, their perceptions regarding the importance of graduate degrees remain high. In addition, the lower their intentions to leave the Air Force, the more effort they expended researching the pursuit of a graduate degree. Most of them reported researching graduate degree information at least once during 2005 and intending to earn one by 2010. Therefore, senior leaders should not expect to see a decline in the number of CE officers possessing graduate degrees in the near future.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number