Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Management


Department of Systems Engineering and Management

First Advisor

John J. Elshaw, PhD.


With the activation of the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in 2012, the United States Air Force initiated an effort to centralize installation and mission support management throughout the Air Force, while decentralizing the execution at the base level. The measurement of success for such a decision extends beyond the reduction of overhead costs. The goal was to build a responsive, mission-focused organization. This research evaluated specific factors associated with the characteristics of virtual team dynamics to improve the perceived responsiveness of a centralized organization. Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory is a relationship-based approach to leadership that focuses on the quality of the exchanges between two members. Previous research regarding LMX theory has focused on explaining how people relate to each other. However, this research developed a model to predict how to actually improve the quality of these exchanges. Base Civil Engineers participated in a survey to measure the current dynamic between AFCEC and Civil Engineer squadrons. This research revealed that trust and depth of communication were significant predictors of LMX. These results affirmed the importance of establishing a personal relationship between team members and demonstrated that LMX increases when the leader seems trustworthy or more like a friend to others.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number