Sharon Gibson

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

James R. Van Scotter, PhD


The US Air Force has recently implemented a policy of assigning supervisors as the mentors of company grade officers. This study investigated the differences in mentoring effectiveness and perceived barriers to mentoring reported by Air Force company grade officers (CGOs), their organizationally assigned mentors (assigned), and CGO selected mentors (voluntary). Results indicated that junior officers believed they had effective mentoring relationships from both assigned and voluntary mentors, but as officers progressed to the rank of captain, they were more likely to seek out mentors outside of their chains of command. Junior officers indicated work related contact time spent on career related mentoring primarily influenced their judgments of effective mentoring. Leader/Member Exchange, Sense of Competence, Proactive Personality, and Performance Ratings influenced perceptions of mentoring from the mentor perspective. More competent, informed CGOs were less likely to perceive barriers to gaining mentors and mentors were less likely to consider the mentoring relationship risky when the CGOs were more junior in rank (lieutenants). Exposure to mentoring related information increased the effectiveness and decreased the perceptions of barriers for both proteges and mentors. Research conclusions suggest the Air Force Mentoring Program is effective for lieutenants, but the mandatory nature of the program may not maximize benefits for captains.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Logistics and Acquisition Management of the Air Force Institute of Technology