Mentorship interactions in the aviation or aerospace industries.
A good business practice supports the core competencies of many businesses, enhances distribution channels for management, increases brand equity, and influences mass customization production processes. Customization processes, moreover, would not be possible without strategic leadership direction through mentorship. When leaders make major decisions that affect the organization, seeking the input from employees is wise to gain additional knowledge. Using the philosophy of mentorship coupled with employee and stakeholder participation leads to better decisions and more successful implementation. Historical and mentoring perspectives surrounding both the aviation and aerospace industries are necessary to understand successful implementation.

Key words: mentorship, visionary mentors, aviation, leadership

Article Type:
Decision-making (Analysis)
Employee motivation (Analysis)
Mentors (Analysis)
Aerospace industry (Human resource management)
Sampson, Enrique, Jr.
James, Warren D. St., II
Pub Date:
Name: Academy of Strategic Management Journal Publisher: The DreamCatchers Group, LLC Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Business, general Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The DreamCatchers Group, LLC ISSN: 1544-1458
Date: April, 2012 Source Volume: 11 Source Issue: 2
Event Code: 280 Personnel administration Computer Subject: Company personnel management
Product Code: 9911210 Motivational Techniques SIC Code: 3721 Aircraft; 3761 Guided missiles and space vehicles; 3769 Space vehicle equipment, not elsewhere classified
Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number:
Full Text:

Most might argue that U.S. aerospace industry jobs are high paying and demand a certain level of technical aptitude. As more young workers enter the aerospace industry, mentorship could potentially provide a means to advance through peer coaching and personal development. "Historically, the concept of mentorship originates from Greek mythology, particularly Homer's Odyssey. During the Middle Ages, mentorship was practiced via apprenticeships" (Block, Claffey, Korow, & McCaffrey, 2005, p. 1). Smith, Howard, and Harrington (2005) quote Merriam as having stated "mentoring appears to mean one thing to developmental psychologists, another thing to business people, and a third thing to those in academic settings" (p. 2). Other scholars have suggested that the industry context influences how mentors perform (Smith et al.).

Kram (1985) described four distinct phases of mentorship: initiation, cultivation, and redefinition. The initiation phase is the time period when the mentorship forms. A prospective protgee begins to respect the potential mentor as a competent individual and a person from whom the protege would like to receive support and guidance (Kram, 1985). At the same time, the mentor begins to recognize the protege as someone who deserves special attention and coaching within the organization (Kram, 1985). The initiation stage is typically followed by the cultivation phase, in which the mentorship partners learn more about each other's capabilities and optimize the benefits of participating in the mentorship (Kram, 1985).

Kram (1985) further noted that the cultivation phase would be the period in which the protege benefits most from interactions with the mentor. The structural and psychological separation between the mentorship partners when the functions provided by the mentor decrease and the protege acts with more independence and autonomy. The redefinition phase terminates a mentorship, and the partners evolve the relationship to one of informal contact and mutual support (Kram. 1985).

The fact that mentoring occurs just as often "organically," without either the imprimatur of an organization or the structure provided by a formal program, indicates that mentoring is more than an organizational imperative (Barry & Feeney, 2009). The concept of mentoring is a social relationship pursued by individuals expecting returns to their careers and to their human and social capital (Barry & Feeney, 2009). The realization of the expectations of organizations, mentors, and protegees is often under discussion (Barry & Feeney, 2009). Mentoring programs abound in both public and private organizations and the value of the programs to the individual and to the organization often is taken as an article of faith in every industry to understand and assist mentees with meeting expectations (Barry & Feeney, 2009).

Interestingly enough, the majority of studies of mentoring outcomes focus exclusively on perceptions. Studies have focused on more tangible outcomes (e.g., job mobility, career progress predominately-oriented studies) over perception-based variables (e.g., job satisfaction, organizational commitment; Aryee & Chay, 1994; Bozionelos 2004; Scandura 1992). Given the abundance of research on mentoring coupled with a plethora of literature on leadership development, research on aviation and aerospace industries contributed to favorable results in career advancement and improved human capital (Barry & Feeney, 2009). From a research perspective, this paper will exemplify the advantages of mentorship applied to the aerospace industry:


Historical perspectives will show that mentorship for the aerospace industry began with the Wright brothers and have influenced the aviation industry over last century. Historically speaking and interestingly enough, the word mentor originated around the time of Ulysses. Ulysses or as he was known at the time, Odysseus gave authority of protection over his son (i.e., Telemachus) to a counselor or tutor when his son set out on many journeys. Over the years, the name Mentor--with a lower case "m" has come to mean wise and trusted teacher, tutor, and counselor.

Expanding on historical methodology, the name mentor exemplifies a situation where one would agree to take another 'under their wing' in the hopes of assisting in the advancement of their vocation. The first would then be the mentor of the second or their protege very similar to Telemachus who was the selected mentor's protege. Coming full circle however, this communicative interaction being voluntary, and mutually agreed upon has become an institutionalized ploy financially displayed between individuals where society has humorously but cautiously labeled consultation, or the work of a hired consultant.

The First Airplane

The history of the state of North Carolina is linked to aviation. December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, the Wright brothers flew the first U.S. airplane (Jakab, 2003). Mid 1909, the United States marveled at the tremendous feats previously accomplished by the Wright brothers. Six years had passed since that historical day in 1903, and the Wright brothers were finally poised for the domestic and international recognition that they had fought to achieve. The headlines and history echoed their names for a second time, but in Fort Myer, Virginia (Allen, 2002). On August 2, 1909, the U.S. Army accepted its first aeroplane into inventory once the Wright brothers meet certain governmental specifications (Allen).

Numerous inventors of flying machines (Ennels, 2002) challenged the Wright brothers' domination of the flying market. Just prior to 1920, the U.S. postal service initiated an airmail service that established a major position in the expansion and growth of aviation and through external motivation setting the foundation for airports worldwide (Jakab, 2003). In 1925, private carriers began delivering mail and transporting revenue passengers with the support and mentorship of the U.S. government. The initiative led to the establishment of airline companies, such as Pan Am in 1928, TWA in 1928, and Delta in 1929 (Jakab, 2003).

As the years passed, interest in airplane travel grew exponentially, but safety became a major concern. A collaborative assessment by aircraft designers at Boeing and Lockheed led to the production of safer aircrafts and the introduction of the aerospace industry. To create inclusive safety standards in these new industries, the Civilian Aeronautic Board (CAB) was established in 1938 (Corvera-Tindel, Doering, Gomez, & Dracup, 2004). The consorted efforts of Boeing and Lockheed coupled with the creation of the CAB helped increase the number of airline passengers from about 2,000 a year around 1930 to well over 16 million in 1949. The introduction of jet airplanes by 1957 allowed more people to enjoy flying while increasing aviation employment. During the initial phases of aviation, mentorship became a tool many aviators used because "mentors tell it like it is and provide society with insights into any industry" (Caron, 2008, p. 1).

Uncertainty of Industry Deregulation

In 1978, the Airline Deregulation Act was established and some considered it unfair ethical practices. Business ethics is a primary concern within the business community and amongst the public and private sectors (Forte, 2004). However, this Act gave all airlines the ability to establish specific routing systems for the good of all involved. Worthy to note, one of the most memorable examples of aviation mentorship occurred in 2005. During that year, an aviation Air National Guardsman teamed up with an aviation student who wanted desperately to become a military pilot. Due in part to business ethics at the time, the guardsman is now the Adjutant General of the NHNG and the students recently graduated--military pilot (Caron, 2008).

About 30 years later, in 2006, the CAB was abolished to the dismay of some and excitement of others. To maintain a regulatory force, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) began mandating regulating airline safety. Since the mid 1980s, management theory as applied to the aviation and aerospace industries has evolved because of privatization, deregulation, and mentorship. Organizations need to measure involvement and satisfaction through mentorship and monitor understanding of the business strategy (Lawler, 2006) to arrive at the evasive prescription to operational growth.

Day (2000) stipulated that effective mentors build networking associations amongst employees and employers who augment collaboration and supply exchange while establishing operational and organizational worth. Furthermore, mentoring can assist businesses in maintaining a continued existence surrounding individualistic and specialized workplace improvement. Siebold (2006), however, proposed that if the strategies are not cultivated surrounding the specialized then the aforementioned relationships might become taxing interactions that create undesirable variances within an organization.

Societal issues and economic barriers surrounded deregulation of the industry and led to a period of ethical challenges in the aviation industry and labor strife in the aerospace industry. Hofstede (as cited in Swaidan and Hayes, 2005) defined ethics as a judgment on the actions of organizations. Based on what some deem as poor ethical judgment, numerous buyouts, severe downsizing, bankruptcies, closures, and several mergers resulted from deregulation. Voelpel, Leibold, and Tekie (2004) believed that companies should seek the capability to reinvent strategy through mentoring continuously to alleviate some of the disastrous outcomes. If organizational leadership can establish clear objectives and goals, gain the trust of the workforce through motivation, encouragement, and a personal mentoring investment, employees are more likely to increase his or her productivity (Buckingham, 2000). Southwest Airlines directed some of its mentorship training towards front-line supervisors or the individuals thought to have the most influence on the workforce (Taylor, 2003).

The Health of the U.S. Aerospace Industry

The health of the U.S. aerospace industry could be measured on the backlog of aircraft manufacturing orders, mentorship of internal as well as external customers, and the global exportability of products and services by the US aerospace industry. The U.S. Department of Commerce (2008) Census Report for the second quarter of 2008 reported a $55.8B decline in the durable goods manufacturing by the U.S. manufacturing industry from the same period in 2007. The U.S. Department of Commerce's (2007) report on industry and security acknowledged 9 of 10 major defense outsourced systems were aerospace-related. From 2002 through 2006, the major 10 aeronautical systems accounted for 56.8% of the export agreements and 58.8% of the offset agreements (U.S. Department of Commerce). Globalization, outsourcing, and the decentralization of commercial aircraft production challenge organizational leaders to establish a convincing case for employees to adapt to goals and objectives driven by political and economic forces (Pritchard, 2002). The problem is that many aerospace workers believed transferring work projects abroad has an erosive effect on the national economy and on the American skill base (Pritchard & MacPherson, 2004).

The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS; 2007) reported that the U.S. companies reported, in 2004, offset transactions reached $4.9 billion, the highest for the 12-year time frame and a 38.4% increase over 2003. The U.S. aerospace industry is increasing outsourcing by "direct subcontracting, purchasing, co-production, and licensing offset transactions" (U.S. Department of Commerce BIS, p. 20) to promote sales internationally. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Commerce BIS reported that the aerospace rationale for outsourcing is focused on three areas: supplier's capacity and capability, cost reductions, and offset agreements for most international exports with mentorship factoring in as a major contributor to success. The aerospace industry is attempting to reduce waste, improve productivity, and prepare an efficient labor force to meet future technology advances (Pritchard, 2002) however; this cannot be accomplished without effective, focused, and strategic mentoring on the part of current leadership.

The process for waste elimination and efficiency improvements focuses on the introduction of lean manufacturing initiatives that complement Taylor's scientific management model (Pritchard, 2002). The lean manufacturing model follows a similar path of measuring the times, motion, and travels of employees as they accomplish their work (Womack, 2005). In the lean process, the task of the worker and the efficiency of the organization are examined to identify repeated actions and steps that result in wasted time and increased cost (Womack, 2005). In most cases, the aerospace industry needs to introduce mentoring while initiating outsourcing as a method for implementing lean practices in the operations environment (Pritchard, 2002).

The need for U.S. aerospace companies to improve the efficiency and operations management of the organizations often results in a strategy that promotes the use of outsourcing (Pritchard & MacPherson, 2004). A substantial body of research revealed that U.S. aerospace companies involved in outsourcing have been able to reduce their cost structure, which resulted in the savings being passed to the customer and consumers. A benefit of outsourcing for the aerospace industry is the cost of passenger air travel in the 21st century, which is a fraction of what it cost in 1976 (U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2005). Other researchers have demonstrated consumers and customers' demand for lower costs for goods and services may help promote the use of outsourcing as one of the means to achieve the desired results and promote mentoring strategies that may aid the U.S. aerospace industry.

Another benefit of the U.S. aerospace industry's outsourcing strategy is the ability to expand and capture market share by having the countries that are purchasing the products and services exercise them for their indigenous consumption (Friedman, 2005). Moving the indigenous co-production and co-development of products and services that resulted from outsourced projects often requires contractual agreements between the parties as a condition of the sale by many international countries where outsourcing fulfills the obligations imposed by the international customer (Taylor, 2003).

The Internet is serving as a new distribution channel all over the world. An in-depth investigation will unveil a plethora of examples between aviation industry employers, employees, students and teachers (Caron, 2008). Moreover, various airline companies, through their IT departments, are now offering new marketing programs and new distribution channels, online ticket reservation system, and price cut promotion schemes. Increasing the inherent adaptive fitness of an organization requires embracing the concept of rapid change (Senge, 2006).

Bandyopadhyay's (2005) believed that framework for global supply chain standards, aerospace companies employ a similar approach where the focus to reduce the variability of the process and improve overall performance forms the basis for determining the quality requirement of operations management in the manufacturing environment. Bandyopadhyay noted the "framework for facilitating the process of developing an industry-specific quality standard for effective quality assurance in a global chain" (p. 294) introduced new processes that are needed to control the operations management of organizations.

The most frequent argument mentioned when considering outsourcing is the loss of U.S. technical skills and jobs (Pritchard, 2002). The rising cost of wages for U.S. aerospace workers is one of many factors requiring U.S. companies to consider alternatives to the manufacturing process. The U.S. aerospace industry is automating many of the work processes once performed by manual labor. An indication of the importance attached to the study of outsourcing is the changes in the manufacturing processes designed and implemented to improve the quality of the product, maintain consistency of the products and service, and reduce overall operating cost (Pritchard, 2002).

The argument that manufacturing jobs may be lost due to outsourcing may prove to be incorrect. Research has confirmed losing aerospace work to outsourcing creates new opportunities and higher skilled jobs are created that are more technical and advanced (Pritchard, 2002). The off-shoring, in-sourcing, and relationships attained from the global supply chain from the application of an industrial participation strategy may also create a new competitor. The development of a new competitor from the export of technology is a concern for many U.S. aerospace industry organizations that is often mitigated by partnering agreements, joint ventures, and other forms of business relationships that promote a common approach where all parties involved in the transaction develop and strengthen the organizations (Pritchard, 2002).

Mentoring in the Aviation Field

Over time, the aviation and aerospace industries continued to develop. Over half a billion passengers were carried by U.S. airlines by 2001 and less than 7 years later, 10 of the largest carriers controlled over 90% of the market (Crouch & Jakab, 2003). Voelpel et al. (2004) stated, "In today's rapidly changing business landscape, new sources of sustainable competitive advantage can often be attained from business model reinvention that is based on disruptive innovation and not on incremental change or continuous improvement" (p. 259). Several management theorists, including Schein (2006) and Senge (2006), posited that management theory needed to incorporate the scientific principles of system dynamics to help explain and possibly predict the complexity of interactions in business environments. This organizing chaos forced businesses to find new ways to achieve operational stability and economic growth (Financial Executive, 2002).

A basic assumption throughout this analysis identified mentoring once adapted by organizations will have potential to produce tangible benefits from the nurturing of employees and leaders to build a cohesive organization (Anonymous, 1996). In the aviation and transportation industries, apparent gender-related problems exist: (a) increasing hiring of entry-level female professionals and (b) developing female professionals so that the best ones move into the elite section of the official/administrator ranks (Schachter, 2004). Schachter (2004) cited, "Organizations develop workers by identifying skills employees need for target positions and the job paths that provide those skills in appropriate increments" (p. 169). To develop female employees, the transportation industry needs information on education and job paths successful female executives use to acquire skills. One way to obtain the necessary information is to analyze strategies used by individual women who have attained career success and to note common aspects among those strategies (Schachter, 2004).

This leads one to believe that mentoring can be beneficial (Minter & Thomas, 2000). Furthermore, these processes can enhance the value of employee development and heighten support towards building lasting partnerships and thus achieving organizational profitability. Mentoring, categorized as providing several distinctive roles: Professional growth and psychosocial enhancement (Kram, 1985). In professional growth, mentors provide vocational support, such as coaching, analysis, advising, and visibility for their proteges. As a career coach, the mentor counsels the protege on how to pursue and develop his or her career (Kram, 1985). Employees are encouraged to inform their mentor about assignments they are working on, and his or her respective mentors should provide helpful information on respective ventures and assignments when applicable or a win-win situation.

Mentoring has been and may be continually successful in the aviation industry. Moreover, it has been and may be continually successful in the aerospace industry. According to Doug Pearson (a test manager), 3 weeks of test flights on the F-35 Lightning II aircraft went remarkably well. Additional test at the Air Force base located at Edwards AFB in California incorporated one dozen mid-flight engine cutoffs. These tests were put into place to replicate engine failure in times of battle and warfare. Of the cases tested, the Pratt and Whitney engines started immediately. Another interesting aerospace occurrence (October 2008), involved the Atlantis space shuttle. The agency inadvertently postponed a repair mission when it was discovered that the Hubble telescope stopped transmitting critical data. Through a directed communicative mentoring interaction between maintenance technicians and senior management as well as the aforementioned two false starts, long-distance computer patches profitably recharged and revitalized the Hubble Space Telescope.

Several scholars argued that leadership development lament the failure of traditional programs to achieve desired results in the business environment (Conger, 2003; Sztucinski, 2002). Consequently, mentoring develops strong leaders and lasting relationships. Sonnentag (2002) cited the following:

Lark (2008) opined that mentoring saves businesses money, lower taxes, and produce long-term residual results. Lark said that mentors increase productivity and stay at their jobs longer. Mentoring helps organizations sustain operational profitability and growth. Because of mentoring and mentorship, knowledge trumps hierarchy, and every idea can be taken farther. New and interesting is better that established and safe, go for broke, or do not go at all (Berlin, 2005). Employees develop confidence and expertise early in their careers, which strengthens opportunities to participate directly in research and developmental projects and or assignments as in the Hubble Telescope troubles (Alfred, 2006).


In a recent qualitative study that analyzed the contributions for mentoring in American Aerospace Industry, the study analyzed the perspective of 20 mentors and their mentees in a formal program (McPhaul, 2009). McPhaul's (2009) analysis revealed common themes that determined "80% of responses focused on career guidance" (p.121). Further analysis of the data collected by McPhaul identified "50% of respondents agreed that mentors effectives" is of great importance to the mentee (p. 121).

McPahul (2009) study revealed, "30% of mentors and 35% of mentees responded that listening and communication skills were most valuable aspects of mentoring" (p. 123). In a Delphi technique study, the role of mentor and protege by Gomez (2008), a 20-member panel review questions on the role of 48 protege competencies. The results of Gomez' study offered a reversal on mentorship based on the panel discussion who challenged the "need for mentoring or having a mentorship program" (p. 59).

Sikes' (2003) study in visionary leadership complements the findings derived from many resent studies on mentoring and mentorship relationships. Douglas' (2008) study on the study of outsourcing on the organizational loyalty, introduces the plausibility, and need for honest communication. The 20 participants in Douglas' study resulted in Aerospace workers defining employee loyalty as the willingness to exert considerable effort on behalf of a company, a willingness to remain an employee of a company, a commitment, or dedication to that company, and a certain amount of reciprocity with a company.

Similarly, data were collected from 5 aviation managers by Brigette's Technology Consulting and Research Firm to acquire an understanding how mentoring assisted in achieving operational stability in the aviation arena. Three research questions guided the current research.

1. How long were you in the aviation field? What was your last position?

2. As a mentee in the aviation field, explain your emotional commitment level.

3. As a mentor in the aviation field, what management process helped you make better decisions benefiting the organization as well as the mentees?

Prior to asking the first question during each tele-interview, the following definitions of rational and emotional commitment offered by North Carolina Office of State Personnel (OSP, 2008, para. 7-8) were read to the participants:

Position and Duration in the Aviation Field

Of the 5 male participants, 3 were African Americans, 1 was Caucasian American, and 1 was Hispanic American. Participants' managerial job tiles included former maintenance chief, former chief of transportation/aircrew support (E6, Tech Sgt), Sr. program integrations manager, manager airport customer service training and standards, and facility manager senior planning & development. Industries included prior military (U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Air force), NASA, Atlantic Southeast Airlines, and the City of Atlanta: Department of Aviation. The average years in the aviation field for the participants include 14 or more years, and in the current position 5 or more years (see Table 1).

The participants considered several areas of their respective organization where shared responsibility and common goals focused on project and program management best practices. The areas identified by participants 1 through 5 were, general management, program management, operations, and military regulations and applications (see Table 2). Each study participant reflected on the numerous positions that were available during their career in the aerospace industry. One study participant identified the diversity of professional opportunities that are available to individuals that are motivated and seek mentoring from peers.

Emotional Commitment Level

The emotional and rational factors that were considered by the participants were based on their current and past experiences in the aerospace industry are outlined in Table 3. Interactions with coworkers and challenges associated with current responsibilities were emotional factors that prompt most of the participants to remain in the aviation field.

Management Process that Resulted in Better Decisions

The management processes and applications that benefit the organization as well as the mentees were identified by the participants during their career in the aerospace industry are outlined in Table 4. The study participants identified leadership skills that are common in the individuals that work in the aerospace industry. One participant identified the technical and higher level mathematics as determinants for work assignments in the aerospace industry.

Findings based on the perspectives of 5 male aviation managers revealed how mentoring assisted in achieving operational stability in the aviation arena. One manager commented on the many challenges surrounding mentoring in the very large aviation industry, but most indicated that challenges were overcome through communicative interaction(s). The mentoring process improved through continuous education, and some junior staffers benefited in regards of knowledge enhancement resulting in promotions. Commenting that mentoring via communicative interactions was successful, 1 manager incorporated the concept in briefings to children with the mentor directed recommendation intentions of staying in school and more importantly staying in the fields of science technology, engineering, and math.


Caron (2008) confirmed that the literary direction as pointed out throughout this paper, "mentorship is a valuable learning tool." As noted by historical research supported by findings from the study, a myriad of examples emerged surrounding mentorship between students, teachers, and professionals in the aviation industry. Block et al. (2005) quoted, "Mentorship incorporates support, guidance, socialization, well-being, empowerment, education, and career progression" (p. 1).

Mentors can be, and in most situations, are valuable sources of information about the "real world" directing and providing insights about the industry to mentees (Caron). Greatest leaders are constantly teaching by example and reflecting character in their performance (Havice, 2003), and if not, as future mentorship leaders should be. "Educating mentors toward their leadership role is beneficial and should be instituted before mentorship programs are adopted" (Block et al., p. 1). The subject about which many a heated discussion has ensued is how best to develop current and future leaders with exemplary organizations selecting and grooming future leaders in a myriad of ways. Fulmer and Goldsmith (2001) stated, "It is becoming increasingly clear that developing leaders is not a luxury; leadership development is a strategic necessity" (p. 3).

Dr. Brenda Nelson-Porter (personal communication, December 15, 2008) coined, "Visionary Mentorship," which involves being committed to securing any opportunity to enhance knowledge. Opportunities involve furthering educational opportunities, researching, and story sharing through networking and net weaving, interviewing, and coaching or mentoring sessions (Nelson-Porter). "Preparing the [future visionary mentors] and leaders of tomorrow is one of the most important jobs for the leaders of today" (Cornelius & Dively, 2008, p. 1). Being that effective visionary mentors or leaders are willing to share their knowledge external of the classroom and decision-making responsibilities external of the workplace with persons being mentored according to Nelson-Porter, the 5 male managers in might be classified as visionary mentors.

In the book, Getting Mentored in Graduate School, Johnson and Huwe (2003) divided the work of visionary leaders into two functions: career and psychosocial. Findings from the study identified career functions, such as "sponsorship, exposure and visibility, coaching, protection, and challenging assignments" as indicated by Johnson and Huwe (p. 19). Visionaries lead junior staffers into situations appropriate to accomplishing goals through personal interactions highlighting the challenges associated with achieving the goals as indicated by Fulmer and Goldsmith (2001), which is supported by findings from the study.

Interestingly enough, the five tele-interviewee's incorporated findings equal to Douglas (2008), McPahaul (2009), and Gomez's (2008) findings. The 5 participants expressed applauds for mentoring, stating similar conclusions to Douglas (2008) and McPahaul (2009) that communicative interactions were foundational to positive outcomes. One participant sided with Gomez's reversal stipulations citing enormous challenges due to the size of the aviation industry, however, and different from Gomez, after overcoming the presented challenges, the rewards were extremely beneficial. All participants commented that mentoring, whether from a mentee or mentor perspective was beneficial when necessary communicative involvement was present.

The resulting from data collected in this study supports the need for visionary leadership to advance the aerospace industry to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Data presented in this study suggest leaders should embrace managerial processes to develop the future aviation workforce, particular in regard to female managers. The greater challenge for future leaders supported by data recommends focusing on developing and implementing management skills and specializations through research, OJT, and TQM, which are sustainable in developing the future aerospace American workforce.


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Enrique Sampson, Jr., Alumni Association Network

Warren D. St. James, II, Alumni Association Network
Mentoring relationships are conceptualized to be relationship of
   long duration--up to 5 yrs or more. Furthermore, research has shown
   that often there is substantial emotional commitment by both
   parties over an extended time, and that these relationships evolve
   in distinct phases. (p. 295)

There are two kinds of commitment: rational and emotional.
   Rational commitment is the factual, intellectual reasoning that
   leads employees to remain in an organization or particular jobs
   (e.g., salary, health benefits, work hours, vacation/sick leave,
   parking, etc). Rational commitment is a driver for retention. On
   the other hand, emotional commitment reflects the feelings that
   employees have about their jobs, such as whether the work
   performed is of value to the organization, or the type of
   interaction with the supervisor, etc.

Table 1: Years in the Aerospace Industry

         1 to 6 Years   7 to 12 Years   >13 Years

Number        3               1             1

Table 2: Aerospace Industry Profession of Managers

         Management   management   Operations   Other

Number       2            1            1          1

Table 3: Emotional Commitment to the Aerospace Industry

  Emotional Descriptor         Participant

                           1   2   3   4   5

Friendships                X       X
Interactions                   X       X   X
Specialization             X       X
Challenges                 X       X       X
Comradety                  X           X
Pay and benefits               X           X
Science & technology                   X
Engineering applications           X
Accomplishments                X           X
Execution of tasks         X           X

Table 4: Management Processes in the Aerospace Industry

Emotional and rational descriptor       Participant

                                    1   2   3   4   5

Program management                                  X
TQM                                         X
Quality control tools                           X
Research                            X           X
Mission assurance                               X
Leadership skills                   X   X   X   X   X
Management skills                           X       X
OJT/field training                      X           X
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