The Nature and Existence of Mentoring Relationships at the United States Air Force Academy
Type of Degreedissertation
Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology
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The practice of mentoring and the study of mentoring relationships continue to garner interest from business and industry, education and military organizations. The purpose of this study was to examine the nature and existence of mentoring relationship at the United States Air Force Academy. United States Air Force Academy Cadets in their Junior (C2C) or Senior(C1C) year were invited to participate in a web-based, mentoring relationships survey. A total of 710 invitations were sent and 325 responses were collected; which resulted in a 45.7% response rate. Survey respondents were asked toprovide demographic data, general mentoring data, as well as information regarding the single most influential mentor. Of the 325 USAFA Cadets who completed the mentoring relationships survey, 190 (59%) reported experiencing one or more mentor relationship, prior to attending the USAFA. Two hundred and thirty-six (73%)respondents reported having had one or more mentor relationships while at the United States Air Force Academy. Survey participants were asked whether or not they had acted as a mentor to other USAFA Cadets. Over 79% of mentored USAFA Cadets had also mentored someone else. However, only 11.4% of non-mentored USAFA Cadets had acted as a mentored to someone else at the United States Air Force Academy. Pearson r correlation analysis was performed between 15 mentoring functions and key outcomes of mentoring. Significant relationships were found, at the .01 and .05 level between the key outcomes of “satisfaction,” “importance,” and “intent” with several of the mentoring functions, however r values for these items revealed either a small or no level. However, significant relationships were observed (at the .01 and .05 level) when the key outcomes of “personal” and “professional growth” were analyzed using Pearson r. Regarding “professional growth,” the r value with “enhanced military career” noted a “large” correlation(r= .56). Additionally, “personal growth” noted at .48 r value for “emotional support.” Linear regression analysis was performed on selected mentoring functions with “professional growth” and “personal growth” key outcomes that had significant relationships at the .01 level. Accordingly, the linear regression findings illustrated that such linear combinations explained 28% and 30% of the variance with regard to “personal growth" and “professional growth,” respectively. Regarding “personal growth,” the mentoring function which best described this key outcome was “emotional support” (β =.31, p < 0.01). “Professional growth” was found to be best described by “enhanced military career” (β = .51, p < 0.01). The findings of this study suggest mentoring is a worthwhile endeavor, with many benefits. Further research, such as longitudinal and those studies focusing on readiness are suggested.