The Effectiveness of the United States Air Force Developmental Teams
The Results-Based Leadership Group surveyed 470 companies and discovered that the top 25 companies with effective leadership practices dedicated twice as much effort to leadership development as did other companies, indicating a strong relationship between success and leadership development. The problem explored in the current study was the lack of qualitative analyses of the U.S. Air Force Development Team processes. The purpose of the case study was to survey Development Teams at the U.S. Air Force in Washington, DC to explore how effectively the teams’ processes resulted in identification, selection, and/or development of leaders who meet strategic needs of the service. Elements of Hersey and Blanchard’s situational leadership theory, Fayol's theory of management, Friedman’s theory of differentiated leadership, and Lewin's change theories were combined with Cohen’s leadership development framework to drive the investigation. Fourteen teams completed anonymous online questionnaires during purposefully and snowball sampled data collection. Qualitative data were analyzed, coded, and grouped into themes. The Development Teams’ processes produced leaders to meet strategic needs of the service, and the program’s objectives aligned with national strategy. Other findings led to specific recommendations, specifically, that teams needed reevaluate their ability to assess past decisions, and that teams’ developmental processes needed more standardization among all career fields. The implications for social change are enhanced leadership development for the service and the development of a leadership assessment model that can be used by any organization in the private or public sector. Improved leadership can allow the service to be postured better to protect the United States and to conduct humanitarian relief efforts.