Mentorship Aid in the Stability of Career Commitment: The Influence Mentors have on U.S. Service Members - Education Essay Example

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This study is an exploration of the influence that mentors have on U.S. Army soldiers’ career commitment and how it contributes to the future success of the institution as a whole.        Currently the U.S. Army has 500,000 soldiers, and to sustain these numbers, the army needs to attract 85,000 soldiers every year. (Green, 2005) The problem is that most recruits do not stay after their tour of duty, and this contributes to the lack of stability within the organization. The large turnover rates are a blow to the morale and prestige of the U.S. Armed Forces. This troubling attrition rate can be attributed to the lack of firm principles towards the war on terrorism, social and cultural barriers such as religious, and the lack of inspiration which should come from the Army’s mentorship program.

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

Introduction to the Problem
The U.S. Armed Forces is pivotal for the protection of the sovereignty of the United States of America. The institution provides for the security of American borders, its geographical and political boundaries, and most importantly, its economic and political interests.  The horrific events of 911, together with the subsequent war on terrorism have posed threats to the country’s sense of security and economic stability. As such, there is an increased pressure for the U.S. Armed Forces to perform over and beyond the call of duty. Such is a tall order for an institution that is suffering from an estimated annual attrition rate of 15%, with recruits eager to leave the service sooner than expected, leaving very few people who will stay for good and will become future military leaders.

Any organization is cognizant of the fact that their success hinges significantly upon the services and loyalty of its recruits, as well as in its ability to attract, retain and motivate qualified people. In the military, it should not stop with the hiring of new soldiers; the most important aspect is to be able to recognize potential leaders, retain them, and train them accordingly to prepare them for more responsibilities. When people keep leaving an organization, the institution often incurs larger financial and resource expenses; these expenses include the recruitment and training of new employees (Barak et al., 2001; Brady, 1998).  More devastating to a highly competitive organization, is the loss of productivity while the position is vacant (Williams & Livingstone, 1994). And this goes true with all types of organizations, from corporate to military.

The Army established the practice of mentoring within its basic training camps. Drill sergeants are no longer expected to portray the role of a strict disciplinarian but of a mentor and guide. Mentorship in the Army’s basic training camps has helped new recruits overcome social and cultural barriers, even as it helps them develop their professional and personal aspects. (Crosby, 1999) Of course it bears mentioning that although formal mentorship in organizations does have a positive effect on protégés; mentors can also distort the protégés’ concept of career needed to advance in the profession (Akande, 1992).

The process of mentors selecting protégés and vice versa is vitally linked to the ability to identify people who share similar social class or cultural links (Bowman et a., 1999; Curruthers, 1993; Chandler, 1996; Clark & Corcoran, 1986; Lark & Croteau, 1998). Because of this phenomenon, people of color and females often lack the opportunity to experience mentorship because of limited minority representation in the military as well as in other organizations. (Murrell, 1999) These instances may create feelings of jealousy, job dissatisfaction, and a tenuous sense of commitment, both to the organization and one’s career (Benishel et al., 2004).

Currently the Army spends approximately $258 million dollars for the recruitment of candidates needed to maintain its required manpower. However, this cost is much higher, especially if you factor in the loss in terms knowledge and experience which the Army cannot replace. As such, this situation calls for new measures and practices to help reduce the attrition rate in the U.S. Army and keep the organization amidst the tides of change.
Background of the Study
In the early 1990’s, unprecedented events of great political and economic importance shook the world. These events required a change in the United States National Security Policy, a policy developed shortly after World War II. The instability brought by these events required the need for the presence of U.S. combat forces in some countries in Europe and Asia (Nunn, 1992). However, due to the end of the Cold War, coupled with U.S. recession, the U.S. military became too big and expensive to maintain. The situation called for a defense transformation plan, which would downsize troop levels by one-third and called for soldiers to become multi-functional on other operations and tactical missions. (Cohen, 2000) This plan would enable smaller forces to deploy anywhere in the world and conduct multiple military operations on multiple fronts. This way the U.S. Army would be a lean fighting machine, capable of doing the job with fewer soldiers on the forefront.

During the Cold War, which lasted for more than fifty years, the United States built the most advanced and professional military in the world. In addition to producing sophisticated weapons, the U.S. armed forces benefited from advanced training, which included education in skills not directly related to military operations (Nunn, 1992). In attempts to remain a world power, the U.S. used its military might and its vast political clout to deter conflicts all over the world. To such ends, the U.S. was a major participant in the United Nations’ bid to aid the world, leading the world in providing peace-keeping troops and providers of humanitarian efforts.

The U.S. Army became more technical by creating complex training programs and simulators for the future battlefield. Being highly dependent on technology, these programs and operations required extensive training and a high-level of maintenance. Such knowledge can only be obtained through a higher level of expertise, which in turn required more talented and independent-thinking soldiers. As Mockenhaupt (2007) puts it, “To fight today’s wars with an all-volunteer force, the U.S. Army needs more quick-thinking, strong, highly-disciplined soldiers.”

911
The events following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 changed the Army’s operational tempo and required a higher state of readiness for the soldiers. The 911 event led to the global war on terrorism, with major wars being fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. Army’s mission clearly changed from passive peace keepers to active catalysts of change. These new demands compelled Army recruiters to get more creative in attracting the right type of people who will inject fresh talent and leadership needed to sustain the progression of military technology and manpower during a time of war.

Recruiting Better Talent
As another direct result of 911, the army opened its doors to college graduates and created a program that will give recruits the chance to finish college should they choose to do so. The trade-off would be their commitment to join a highly technical organization. As of September 2005, the Army had about 500,000 soldiers in active duty operating in more than 150 deployments. Many of these soldiers were attracted to the benefits for their family members, the opportunity to pay off college debts, earn a college degree, learn a technical trade, or simply the chance to serve their country (Green, 2005).

Since the end of the draft in 1973, the U.S. population has grown by 100 million. However, since the end of the Cold War, the Army has downsized from about 780,000 to nearly 500,000, with expectations of increasing its numbers by 12,000 by the end of 2007, and having 547,000 by the end of 2012 (Mockenhaupt, 2007). It would appear the Army’s goals should be relatively easy to obtain, but not so. Mockenhaupt (2007) states that only 30% of all 17 to 24-year-old Americans are eligible for military service. The other 70% are ineligible due to mental, physical, educational, criminal issues, among others. From 1976 to 2001, the Army says that the number of high school seniors willing to join the military has been a constant 10 percent. Out of this group, 70% would then be disqualified, leaving only 30% of all high-school seniors who are eligible and are willing to enter military service.

Adding to the problem is that the number of students who stated no interest whatsoever in joining the army increased from 40 to 60%. In response to this, the Army designed programs to expand the recruitment pool. One of these programs was to double enlistment bonuses from $20,000 to $40,000 and grant more enlistment waivers for medical problems, past drugs and alcohol abuse, and criminal records.  As a result, the Army’s Recruitment Command authorized more than 8,100 waivers for criminal conduct, an increase of 65 percent (Mockenhaupt, 2007).

The Army invests a large percentage of their finances and human resources into the development of highly-trained soldiers and military leaders. A considerable portion of these expenses goes to recruitment and training programs for new employees (Barak et al, 2001; Brady, 1998). When employees leave an organization, the organization incurs huge financial and operational loss and other losses that are not quantifiable using standard means. More devastating to a highly competitive organization is the loss of productivity while the position is vacant (Williams & Livingstone, 1994) as well as the instability caused by the frequent change in manpower. In the case of the U.S. military, the high turnaround rates and the constant hiring of soldiers makes it more difficult for the army to do their job.

The U.S. House of Representatives raised their concerns regarding the amount of money being spent to attract highly qualified civilians into the Army ranks. In an attempt to attract the best candidates to fill vacancies in the Army’s ranks, the army recruitment program has increased its budget almost ten-fold over the last five years. An investigation of the management of the Army’s Enlistment Bonus Program showed that spending went from $26 million in 1997 to $258 million in 2002 (GAO report). Attracting recruits to the front gates is only half the battle; the Army has made drastic changes in how they train troops needed for today’s modern battlefield. The physical and psychological difficulties that soldiers endured in basic training two decades ago are no longer the preferred technique in training civilians to become soldiers. (Mockenhaupt, 2007)

Mentoring Trainees
The demand for highly-trained solders in a complex organization, coupled with the huge difference in cultural practices, makes the environment even more overwrought than it already is. As such, training officers have difficulty changing their image from the strict drill sergeants to becoming friendly mentors. However, this may be one of the key to retaining more recruits. A less hostile environment where there is support may be more encouraging and inspiring than one wrought by fear and pressure. This method creates a less hostile training environment and will not make them quit while still in basic training (Mockenhaupt, 2007).

As Army Major General John Schofield puts it more eloquently,

The discipline which makes the soldiers of a free country reliable in battle is not to be gained by harsh or tyrannical treatment. On the contrary, such treatment is far more likely to destroy than to make an Army. It is possible to impart instruction and to give commands in such a manner and such a tone of voice as to inspire in the soldier no feeling but an intense desire to obey. While the opposite manner and tone of voice cannot fail to excite strong resentment and desire to disobey. (AR 350-6)

 

Colonel Kevin Shwedo, the director of Operations for the Army’s Accessions within the Training and Doctrine Command related that tyrannical treatment is the wrong way to train future Army soldiers. The most effective teams don’t focus on breaking down; they focus on building up individual skills, self esteem, and ego (Mockenhaupt, 2007). This new method of training today’s recruits has reduced the Army’s basic training attrition rate from 18 percent to 6 percent. With the cost of $30,000 to train the average recruit in basic training, the new failure rate saves the Army more than $244 million a year.

The Army’s Attrition Rate
The Army’s ability to eliminate detractors and offer encouragement to new recruits have lowered the attrition rate of basic training candidates. This success is attributed to the mentorship offered by recruits’ primary trainers. In addition to providing mentorship to new recruits, the training process includes helping recruits bridge cultural and social barriers. The U.S. Army and the entire U.S. Armed Forces have gone to great lengths, more than other organization in America, to ease or erase social, cultural, and racial barriers (Randolph, 1990). As a result of the army’s willingness to eliminate these barriers, they have been able to produce a strong force that is bound together by camaraderie and a sense of community.

But a greater problem continues to lurk behind Army objectives and long-term goals. This year the Army needs to recruit 80,000 new soldiers to keep up with its needs. This means that they need to recruit 85,000 to compensate for the 6% attrition rate during the basic training period as well as other losses during and after the tour of duty. At this rate, the Army can expect to lose as many as 15 percent of its current force annually.

Drastic changes made in organizations often have a negative effect on the commitment of workers (Bright & Pryor, 2005). Unforeseen changes or deployment demands in the Army, along with frequent cultural and environmental change is one of the root causes that lead to the high percentage of soldiers exiting active duty (Brady, 1998). When soldiers depart the military, their departures have a profound effect on the organization as well as on the fellow soldiers they leave behind. A study conducted by Lee (2002) found that huge attrition rates have an adverse impact on remaining members; it affects their morale and sense of well-being and it changes their perception on the working environment as well. Lee’s study also suggested that many factors can lead to the decision to exit the Army; but social, personal, and military support can have a strong influence on a soldiers’ commitment to the Army as a career.

Army Community Service
Social barriers, cultural barriers, and family stability have always been an element of the U.S. Army’s culture.  Many times they have been viewed as a hindrance to military mission accomplishment. In recent years, the Army has found that these elements need critical attention, and have taken steps to address these needs to complement the Army’s retention and readiness problems (Albano, 1993). To counter stress stemming from domestic, cultural, social, and environmental challenges, the Army relies heavily on their Army Community Service (ACS) to facilitate support efforts for soldiers and their families.

Although social support is a factor in career commitment for Army soldiers, a need for career success and progression are often greater desires. Career success has been labeled as being comprised of rewarding the individual extrinsically and intrinsically (Nabi, 1999). A method of providing such rewards through work accomplishment is by extending the practice of a formal mentorship program to the Army’s permanent party soldiers.

Mentorship can be a promising path for career success, retention goals, and technical knowledge stability within the army’s structure. It is a process that has proven highly successful for basic training recruits, but not widely used in the Army’s Permanent Party Environment mentorship.

Shown in Figure 1 are three columns that show the army’s basic training challenges, programs used as solutions, and their corresponding results. Although, there are more challenges, only these five are displayed because they are more the common and most troublesome for the army and the trainee. The inability to adapt, family concerns, psychological illnesses are generally handled by the Army Community Service trained professionals. Issues of social & cultural barriers and the departure of fellow soldiers are handled by the recruits’ immediate leaders or drill sergeants.

These programs have reduced the army’s basic training attrition rate by 66%. Although the percentage of problems that are handled by the Army Community Service and Drill Sergeants isn’t known; the results of the implementation of training through mentorship, instead of traditional army basic training techniques suggest the number of problems and complications that arise from the departure of soldiers, as well as social and cultural barriers were overwhelming.

In Figure 2, the same three challenges are presented for the army’s permanent party soldiers. The Army Community Service has been tasked to deal with a much smaller percentage of the problems. Looking at the ten challenges, organizational leaders are primarily responsible because many of these challenges are elements of development and growth.

The purpose of these tables is to show problems found in past studies; it is not intended to put blame on any one office or agency for the problems of the military. What these tables suggest is that a formal mentorship program, institutionalized in the army’s permanent party could reduce its attrition rate, just as it did for its basic training program. As suggested by Ulku-Steiner et al. (2000), there’s enough evidence to support the notion that mentors have a substantial influence on the career commitment of their protégés.

Challenges                                                 Solutions                                         Results

Basic Training Challenges

 

Failure to Adapt
Family Members’ Concerns
Psychological Illness
 

Social & Cultural Barriers
Departure of Fellow Comrades
Training
Sense of Accomplishment
Mental Stress

Current Accomplishments

 

Reduced Basic Training Attrition Rate by 66%.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Figure 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenges                                                 Solutions                                         Results

Permanent Party Challenges

Family Members’ Concerns
Failure to Adapt
Psychological Illness
Social & Cultural Barriers
Departure of Fellow Comrades
Training
Sense of Accomplishment
Mental Stress
Career Development
Multi Functional
Require High Degree of Knowledge
Frequent & Longer Deployments
Frequent Organizational Change
Expected to conduct more duties as Comrades depart

Army Community Service

Failure to Adapt
Family Members Concerns
Mental Stress
Psychological Illness
Social & Cultural Barriers

Remaining Issues

Social & Cultural Barriers
Departure of Fellow Comrades
Cycle Training
Sense of Accomplishment
Mental Stress
Career Development
Multi Functional
Higher Degree of Knowledge
Organizational Change
Conduct more Duties
Longer Deployments

Organizational Leadership

Social & Cultural Barriers
Departure of Fellow Comrades
Cycle Training
Sense of Accomplishment
Mental Stress
Career Development
Multi Functional
Higher Degree of Knowledge
Organizational Change
Conduct more Duties
Longer Deployments
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Figure 2.

 

 

 

 

Statement of the Problem
With an annual recruitment budget of nearly $250 million and a 15% attrition rate; the U.S. army is waging a losing war on the hiring, training and retention of recruits. The organization is also losing critical institutional knowledge as soldiers who that have been extensively trained leave the army and use their training somewhere else.

 

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study is to confirm if mentorship does have a positive influence on the career commitment of soldiers to reenlist and stay on after serving their tour of duty. Due to the stressful demands of serving in the U.S. military, this study seeks to extract critical elements that compel Army soldiers to exit active duty. This paper will also attempt to study how the lesser numbers of minority mentors affects attrition and retention rates within the institution. Based on these findings, this study will try to discover if there is a correlation between the ethnic identity of mentors and the ethnic identity of protégés in the U.S. Army. The study will also explore collected data that will either prove or disprove the notion that mentors who are affiliated with the military tend to have a greater influence on their protégé staying in the military when compared to mentors who are not affiliated with the military.

 

Rationale
Events following 911 changed the landscape of the United States, especially in so far as national security policies are concerned. As a result of these events, a significant portion of the government’s budget has been allocated to buttressing the countries security, and to actively seek out and eliminate the threat of terrorism. This situation calls for a more efficient, highly- trained, battle ready soldiers, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice. The U.S. Army must be able to maintain a force enough to continue its current operations and to commit to future missions. This increased demand strains the resources of the Army to its breaking point. The rationale behind this study is to provide a plausible solution to the U.S. army’s problem of high attrition. Why recruits choose not to stay in the service and what institutionalize changes can be made to make them stay. By extension, this study can also help non-military organizations in their constant battle to keep valued employees. The ability to remain competitive by retaining competent and confident employees is of great value to organizations in their quest to compete in a diversified culture.

 

Research Hypothesis
This study will gather and assess data, which is found to be supportive or unsupportive in regard to the following hypotheses:

1.      U.S. Army soldiers’ career choices can be influenced by having a mentor.

2.      U.S. Army soldiers with mentors that are or have been affiliated with the Army, have a higher commitment level to making the Army a career.

3.      There is a correlation between the ethnic identity of mentors and the ethnic identity of protégés in the U.S. Army.
Significance of the Study
More than ever, organizations are in a desperate battle to retain employees with monetary bonuses and rewards. However monetary rewards are not enough. The instilling of organizational value, culture, and institutional knowledge are all necessary elements to keep employees loyal and productive. All of these things as well as the process of succession can be addressed with the creation of mentoring programs. Employees can work freely, while following a clear career path within the organization. To such ends, mentoring is one of the most effective means to provide employees with professional and personal development programs. This study is intended to generate information about the influences mentors have on protégés in relation to their career commitment. In addition, this research intends to add to the body of knowledge, by providing information on the value mentors may or may not provide to organizations wanting to retain talented employees.

 

Definition of Terms
1. Mentorship. The process by which a relationship between superior and subordinate is established within an organization. Although both seek to benefit professionally from their relationship, the senior bestows professional lessons that will prepare and help the subordinate to overcome social and cultural barriers in his/her quest to master crafts within a profession or career.

2. Mentor. An individual who bestows knowledge and professionally develop subordinates within a profession.

3. Protégé. An individual who seeks professional development by learning specific social, cultural, and professional techniques of survival from a seasoned professional.

4. Career Function. The process of a protégé conducting a function to enhance career knowledge.

5. Psychosocial Function. The process by which a protégé enhances his/her self efficacy.

6. Ethnicity. The group an individual identifies with based on race, national origin, gender, color, or social similarities.

7. Role Model. The use of the word role model will be interchangeable with mentor in this paper. The interchangeability will reflect a concept of terms used to reflect or describe a person of influence and modeling.

8. Career. A summation of a person’s occupational function as work experience over a period of time.

9. Career Commitment. Refers to the identification of an occupational function; it’s the development of knowledge which aids in the contribution of perfecting occupational functions for an extended period of time.

10. Emotional Intelligence. Refers to the ability to perceive emotion, integrate it in thought, understand it, and manage it successfully (Ashkanasy et al., 2002).
Assumptions and Limitations
The findings of this research should be able to identify possible solutions to the U.S. Army’s attrition rate. Although the target population is the U.S. army, the results are expected to be comprehensible and applicable to any organizations that employ people. Specifically, the possible applications of the results will help organizations become more responsive to the cultural, social, or organizational structures of both military and corporate organizations.

Due to the size, location, and different sub-organizations in the Army, the primary population sample will be soldiers in the state of Georgia. Due to real world missions and circumstances, the research will limit its sampling to the continental United States. The selected population will be identified as a sample group, representing the general population of the Army.

As part of this research, an attempt will be made to identify a correlation between ethnic groups. However, this goal may be limited to the availability of the number of ethnic groups captured in the sample of the population. Therefore, results may not represent ethnic distribution the general population of the U.S. Army.

 

Nature of the Study
The nature of this study will use a confirmatory framework, which will allow the analysis of data to be classified as supportive or unsupportive data as it relates to a stated hypothesis. In addition this framework allow the results of the data analysis to be depicted using either quantitative or qualitative methods.

 

Organization of the Remainder of the Study
This research proposal is organized into three chapters. Chapter 1 includes the introduction to the problem, background to the study, statement of the problem, purpose of the study, rationale, research question, and significance of the study, assumptions and limitations. Chapter 2 consists of the literature review. Chapter three is the methodology of study and the data collection process.

After the acceptance of the proposal, 2 more chapters will be added for a total of 5 chapters. Chapter 4 will consist of the Data Collection and Analysis. Chapter 5 will disclose results, conclusion, and recommendations.

CHAPTER II. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
Introduction
This chapter will review the primary literature used for the basis of this study.

Mentorship
Mentorship in organizations has long been proven to enhance organizational performance. However, at the other end of the spectrum, organizations have had some bad experiences with mentoring programs, primarily because of bad relationships between mentor and protégé, informal arrangement of the program, and poor understanding of how the mentor and protégé selection process should work.

For years mentorship has been a hot topic in advancing workers, teams, and organizations. More than 2,000 articles on mentorship have been written in past 30 years (Martin, Reed, Collins, and Dial, 2002) and more than 150 published between the years 1985-1995 (Benishek, Bieschke, Park, and Slattery, 2004). However, there exist standing issues with identifying a standard definition of mentorship, which is missing from both academic and social practices. Because of the lack of clear terminology, traditional models of mentoring are used to facilitate the development of many protégés (Benishek, Bieschke, Park, and Slattery, 2004).

Terminology Selection
The issue of using unclear terminology with traditional mentoring models is that the results could be misleading and unreliable (Robert and Wrench, 1985). A study substantiated Robert and Wrench’s findings when two groups of female lawyers, were evaluated based on the how stringent their mentor criteria was. Female lawyers, whose criteria were deemed more stringent, experienced a richer mentor relationship than the group whose terminology criteria was less stringent (Benishek, Bieschke, Park, and Slatery, 2004). The underlining importance of this study is that mentoring practices in organizations should be designed and institutionalized, in such a way that both professional and personal relationships between mentor and protégé are cultivated.

Mentorship has been defined as the professional relationship between mentor and protégé. However, what sets a mentorship apart is that there is an emotional and personal investment in this type of relationship (Crosby, 1999). Colonel Thomas Kolditz (2000), a military psychologist and professor of behavior science at the U.S. Military Academy, defines mentorship as people who go beyond a typical senior-subordinate relationship; the relationship is professional in focus but personal in tone. A mentor provides valuable coaching, teaching, networking, advising, and evaluating (Collins, Dial, Martin, & Reed, 2002); as well as vocational knowledge, socio- psychological knowledge, and serves as a role model (Scandura, 1992). For some, mentors service is greater to the organization when institutional knowledge is preserved (Kent, 2001). There have been several definitions given to the responsibilities of mentorship but the bottom line is the position calls for a duty that supports the subordinate’s optimum development of their potential needed for a successful growth within the organization.

Regardless of the terminology used to define mentorship, many professionals and researchers agree on its capabilities, which cannot be accomplished without collaboration and constant communication between mentor and protégé. This is needed to build a higher level of commitment; it also allows the protégé to battle social and cultural barriers and identify a positive self-image while discovering his/her place in the work place and society at large. (Gibbs, 1999; Thakur, 2003) Furthermore, 80% of all executive professionals who participated in a survey proclaimed that successful mentors are always willing to share knowledge and experiences. (Reid, 1994)

Mentor Selection
It has been suggested that the solidification of the protégé’s identity and self- image is strengthened through the selection of his/her mentor. Generally, mentors select protégés based on gender, social class, race, and culture identities (Shapiro, Haseltine, & Rowe, 1978). In his research, Reid (1994) found that most mentors, who were white and college graduates, tend to choose protégés that that are similar their own social and cultural backgrounds. Other studies support the notion that mentors select their protégés based on their willingness to learn, coupled with shared social and cultural identities (Allen, Eby, Lentz, Lima and Poteet, 2004).

Findings from these studies show that when mentoring is conducted properly, female graduate students have greater involvement in professional activities (Lark and Croteau, 1998); there’s greater job satisfaction among women (Baugh et al., 1996; Burke and McKenn, 1997; Riley and Wrench, 1985); and higher annual income if the protégé was mentored by a white male (Dreher and Cox, 1996). Based on these findings, it not incomprehensible to suggest when a protégé select a mentor, there’s an attribute, characteristic or goal the subordinate wants to master.

Protégé’s Career Stages
Regardless of the ethnic or social status of the mentor, the protégé is the party who will ultimately decide if the relationship is benefiting his/her growth and expectations. Protégés often engage in building a relationship with their mentors in order to increase their confidence and technical knowledge and abilities. This development of self-concept within the context of a profession is obtained over a lifecycle consisting of three categorical stages referred to as early, middle, and late stages. (Gibson, 2003)

In Gibson’s (2003) early stage of mentor development, mentors serve an important role in providing career and organization socialization by helping individuals create, experiment, and define their self-concept. (Ibarra, 1999) In the middle stages, protégés seek to refine their career and self-concept. In the late stage, the relationship between mentor and protégé is reevaluated. The basis of the relationship as mentor and mentee may dissolve, if the protégé has obtained the knowledge and self-satisfaction he or she sought as the relationship began. Moreover, if the interaction between mentor and protégé was successful, they may now be colleagues and enjoy a lifelong friendship.

A second framework, used in Hunt and Michael’s (1983) study on mentorship as a training tool, depicts four identifiable stages used in the mentor/mentee relationship: Stage 1: is the initiation stage, Stage 2: protégé stage, Stage 3: the break up, and Stage 4: lasting friendship. The initiation stage as described by Kram (1980) is a critical stage which exists in the first six to twelve months. During this time, the protégé and mentor establish work and learning objectives and get to know each other on personal and professional levels.

The protégé stage is the stage where protégés are given actual tasks. However, the product is not considered as their own but as the work of their mentors. (Hunt and Michael, 1983) Anywhere between six months to 24 months, the break-up stage begins. This stage begins when the mentees have learned from their given tasks and is ready to function on their own.

Kram (1980) refers to stage 3 as the separation stage and characterizes it as a disruption caused by external forces within the organizations’ context or internal forces between the mentee and mentor. The third phase is a strong and critical evolution of the relationship. It denotes the transition of roles and the subtle shift in power structures. If the relationship was a success, the mentor will be able to function successfully independent of his/her mentor, while keeping their personal relationship intact and hopefully enduring. (Hunt and Michael, 1983 and Kram, 1980)

The friendship stage is the last stage. This stage is characterized by the personal relationship that exists between the mentor and the mentee. The level of successful collaboration and respect developed between them will dictate if the two eventually become peers and develop a lifelong friendship. (Hunt & Michael, 1983 and Kram, 1980) The ultimate purpose of mentorship is to obtain self-concept, self-confidence, and career development, but the development of a genuine friendship is of utmost importance.

The lack of mentors who can provide appropriate self-concepts, self-confidence, and career development is a possible reason for employees leaving or refusing to commit to certain careers. (Fried, 2005) Theoretical frameworks by Bandura (1969, 1977, 1982, and 1986) have been developed over the past thirty years to show a connection on how the social environment influences behaviors, including career decisions (as stated in Fried, 2005). Additional work conducted by Hackett and Betz (1981) supported the notion that social support, or the lack thereof, could lead people of color or females to be underrepresented in certain careers.

Concerns of Formal mentorship
Formal mentorship in organizations has grown considerably in recent years (Eddy, Tannenbaum, Alliger, D’Abate, 2001) because of the abundance of researches supporting the concept. Indeed there is enough evidence to support the notion that mentors have substantial influence on the career commitment of their protégés. (Ulku-Steiner et al., 2000) In his study, Kent (2001) saw a 15% drop in attrition rates. Hunt and Michael (1983) claim that having one or more mentors were a critical factor for the success of many top-level mangers. Likewise, Reid (1994) found that 80 percent of the executive professionals, whom participants in a study had at least one mentor in their organization.

There are many scholarly articles and studies in support of formal mentorship programs, but the creation of these policies are not always supported by junior organization leadership. (Benishek et al., 2004) General Eric K. Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff, noted that a disconnection exists between the Army’s framework of mentorship and the lack of practice at lower echelons. Failed attempts at mentorship in organizations can be the result of poor design and execution, the social and cultural environment, or the lack of organizational commitment for the program. (Gibson, 2003)

In 2002 the U.S. Army War College conducted a research project spearheaded by Anderson-Ashcraft (2002). The project discovered that out of the sixty-four essays written by senior military officers, 71% of the essays addressed negative aspects of mentorship. During an interview with an Army Times reporter, General John Keane, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army stated that, “The quality of leadership, as reflected in the mentoring process, has fallen off.” (Martin, Reed, Collins, and Dial, 2002) Thus it could be assumed that the root cause of the lack of mentoring programs in the Army is actually a result of the lack of knowledge of its practical applications and potential benefits to the military organizations.

Other issues surrounding mentorship in organizations is the tendency of protégés and mentors to identify with and favor people of similar social class and cultural links. (Bowman et al., 1999; Curruthers, 1993; Chandler, 1996; Clark & Corcoran, 1986; Lark & Croteau, 1998) Because of this phenomenon, people of color and females often lack the opportunity to experience mentorship because of the limited minority representation in many organizations (Murrell, 1999). In addition, minorities often have a difficult time finding protégés, because their status is assumed to be weaker or less powerful when compared to their white counterparts. (Dreher and Cox, 1996)  These occurrences may create feelings of jealousy, dissatisfaction with the job, and less commitment to the organization and career (Benishel et al., 2004).

In addition to social and cultural bias in selection of a mentor or protégé, there’s a bias in the methods males and females tend to mentor their protégés. Males tend to enrich the knowledge of their protégés by focusing on career mentoring, while female mentors tend to provide more psychological mentoring (Guindon and Richmond, 2005). Of these two dimensions of mentoring, psychological is assumed to be the most important development for mentees (Levinson et l., 1978, as cited in Hunt and Michael, 1983).

A survey conducted by the U.S. Army’s Training and Leader Developmental Panel received feedback from more than 14,000 officers, NCOs, and civilian government employees; showed that mentoring is an important personal and professional tool for growth of soldiers. Many junior soldiers feel mentoring is important, but they lack the opportunity to get enough or any of it (Martin, Reed, Collins, and Dial, 2002).

Problems with formal mentoring programs
Although formal mentoring programs have been proven to benefit large organizations, it is not by all means fool-proof. Some common problems are mentoring only works when it’s voluntary. Organizations that make mentorship mandatory to the point where senior employees feel burdened with the task of developing junior employees, only failed relationships and missed opportunities can result (Kram, 1985). Army leaders want their subordinates to develop a professional as well as a personal relationship with their mentor, but it has to be a mutual agreement between mentor and protégé on what the relationship will be based upon and the goals each hope to accomplish (Collins et al., 2002).

The process of establishing mentorship in organizations in order to attract, develop, and retain employees in a given profession would prove more advantageous for organizations struggling to keep their talented workers. However, Akande (1992) warns that organizations should be cautious of formal mentoring programs. Some mentors have a single school of thought, and they may impose those beliefs in their protégés, and mold them to become carbon copies. There is a risk that knowledge, theories, and beliefs will be duplicated through the behaviors and commitment of their protégé. This is human nature and can be easily remedied with careful monitoring. Benishek et al. (2004) found that not all formal research on mentoring is positive; these findings support Akande’s warnings of implementing a formal organizational mentorship program.

Models of Mentoring
Traditional Model of Mentoring
Benishek et. al., (2004) said that one of the traditional models of mentoring was conceptualized Kram (1983). The significance of Kram’s model was that it was able capture a concept of mentoring that focuses on content and process. Kram’s (1983) model focused on career and psychological functions in the mentoring process. As with the traditional models of mentoring, they were extremely flawed, especially for use in today’s environment where diversity is an everyday challenge for organizations. Traditional mentoring models are based on paternalistic ideologies of male development, which perpetuated the view of one school of thought being taught to protégés. (Colley, 2000)

Relational Model of Mentoring
The relational model of mentoring was established to address the shortcomings of the principles of teaching a school of thought that benefited white males, while also attempting to provide more psychological knowledge to the protégé. However, due to empathy and similar life styles, the relational model suggested that women should be the only mentors of other women. The unique challenge for women in the work place is their need to balance family commitments with their career responsibilities. (Bruce, 1995) Moreover, Tomas (1993) suggests that the best cross-cultural mentoring could only occur when both the mentor and protégé share similar ideologies of addressing diversity.

Feminist Model of Mentoring
Concerns of the relational models of mentoring, combined with the urgent call for greater diversity in the workplace, gave way to a more superior and complementary feminist mentoring model introduced by Fassinger. (1997) The feminist model of mentoring (FMM) addressed the concerns of relational models, but at the same time placed emphasis on the relational components of mentoring, with focus on power and empowerment. The design of the Fassinger’s FMM eliminates the possibility of reinforcing the social ideologies of both the mentor and protégé. This model allows both participants to learn from each other. But just as with prior models of mentoring, Fassinger’s model was challenged with realistic concerns stemming from organizational diversity. The FMM failed to thoroughly address concerns of multicultural development and understanding in a diversified environment. (Benishek et. al., 2004)

 

Multicultural Feminist Mentoring Model
Benishek et. al. (2004) proposed the Multicultural Feminist Mentor Model (MFMM) to address issues in the FMM. The MFMM (Table 1) clearly supports the development of protégés in a multicultural environment, while still having the support needed to address gender issues. This model is able to address all cultural and gender concerns, which were the common flaws in past mentor models.  This model not only addresses the dimensions of multicultural, gender, sexual origin, color of people, to include other protected classes, it also has the capability to address the assumption of power distribution and the ability to obtain empowerment within an organizations’ environment.

Mentorship is the process by which the responsibility of the mentor is to increase potential of a subordinate professional by providing valuable coaching, teaching, networking, advising, and evaluating (Collins, Dial, Martin, & Reed, 2002), while preserving the institutional knowledge of the organization (Kent, 2001). As discovered, the mentoring process does present challenges for both its participants and the organization.

The selection process poses a challenge for minorities and those without higher education. (Reid, 1994) Mentor and protégés often seek to establish a relationship with a respective party based on ethnic and social similarities. (Shapiro, Haseltine, & Rowe, 1978) Little has been done to counter these phenomena, but Bandura (1969, 1977, 1982, and 1986) has done extensive studies explaining the influence of the social environment on human behavior.

The closest practitioners have come to countering the effects of social environment in a formal mentoring program is with the design and execution of the mechanisms of training (Allen, Day, & Lentz, 2001) and the use of the Multicultural Feminist Mentor Model as presented by Benishek et. al. (2004) The use of mentoring models and training, organizations can maintain organizational knowledge and propel the development of organizational leaders.

If data support the theory that mentorship does influence career commitment in the army, the use of the MFMM presented by Benishek et. al. (2004) could serve as an excellent model that the military can use to tailor their own mentorship program.

Table 1

Multicultural-Feminist Mentoring Model

 

Characteristics                                                           Benefits to Mentor                 Benefit to Protégé

Rethinking Power

Eschews hierarchies, emphasis                   Gains colleague                      Feels complete

on sharing power

 

Recognition of power difference                                                              Learns to trust,

But goal is Not to wield ones

Power but to use it to empower

others

 

Puts own needs secondary to

Protégé

 

Examination of privilege within

the relationship and the environment

 

Respect for existing differences

Between the mentor and the

Protégé

 
Emphasis on Relational

Mentoring is genuine                                  Gains support, friendship       Gains support

 

Mentoring is both task and                         Greater understanding of       Gains appreciation of

relationship oriented                                               multicultural issues                 balance

 

Mentor shows both strength                                                                                  Develop network

and flaws

 

Feedback occurs within the

Relationship

 

Mentor takes the responsibility for

raising multicultural issues with

all protégés

 

(Continue on next page)

 

 

Table 1 (Continued)

Multicultural-Feminist Mentoring Model

 

Characteristics                                                           Benefits to Mentor                 Benefit to Protégé

 
Protégés are encouraged to seek out

Other mentors when appropriate

Valuing Collaboration

Mentor and protégé work side by              Valuable task assistance         Gains direct

side on projects                                                                                          experience

 

All voices are valued                                  Increases productivity                       Observes close model

Participation is not prescribed by               Higher quality products         Contributions

Majority culture                                                                                         respected

 

diverse perspectives are encouraged

 
Integration of Dichotomies

Focus on developing a congruent               Reinforces self-congruence    Respect knowledge

sense of self

 

Both sides of the continuum are                                                               Respect feelings

valued

 

Experiences gained in a non majority                                                        Develops self

Culture are perceived as valuable                                                              congruence

 
Incorporation of Political Analysis

Acknowledgment that education               Re-empowers self                  Gains awareness

science, work, life is not value free

 

Mainstream values (e.g., sexism,                Influence status quo               Is empowered to work

racism, and homophobia) within                                                               toward social change

both individuals and institutions are

challenge

 

Social advocacy and social justice

Activities are supported

 
Commitment to Diversity

 

Note. Adapted from Benishek et al., (2004). Model is in original content

 

Career Commitment
Career commitment has been classified as the identification of an occupational function. It is the development of knowledge that aids in the contribution of perfecting occupational skills knowledge and abilities. A deeper exploration of this definition concludes that several other factors, such as career success and satisfaction, take place prior to the commitment to a career.

Career Success
Results of Poon’s (2003) study suggest a positive correlation between career success and career commitment. However the ability to claim career success is only valid from the lens of the evaluator. Korman (1981) categorized career success into two areas; objective and subjective. To complete academic studies is objective, and to lead a successful career is subjective (Nabi, 1999). Thus, employees who are highly committed to their career should experience more objective and subjective success than people not so commitment. Objective success is due to the motivation to excel and develop work functions (Cheng and Ho, 2001).

People who find more career success through accomplishing organizational goals will experience more subjective success through organizational recognition. According to Nabi, (1999) the definition of success is subjective and objective success will not be possible without subjective success. Therefore the notion of career success requires that the existence of one classification is dependent on the other.

For example, the harder an employee works, the deeper he/she is committed to organizational success. At a certain point, the drive to surpass the previous work performance will compel the worker to learn new theories and concepts, thus creating obstacles or objectives that must be overcome in order to succeed in the initial quest, which is to surpass preceding work performance. According to Nabi (1999), this academic learning is objective, and this objective learning or success is motivated by the existence of subjective success. Thus, in order to be successful in one, the worker must be successful in both.

Career Satisfaction
A study of medical librarians found that librarians who were high on career commitment have higher career satisfaction than those who are low on career commitment. (Carson et al., 1999) In addition, according to Nabi’s (1999) findings, those librarians with the higher level of career commitment would find more subjective career success because of the nature of their occupation.

Kieler (1971) noted that career success and satisfaction that relates to a higher degree of career commitment is often supported through frequent extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, which include higher salaries, bonuses, recognition among peers, and promotions. But salary increase alone does not constitute career success; there must be the presence of other elements that support career satisfaction. Wallace (1995) claims the willingness to stay within an organization or career is based on the satisfaction employees have with the environment. In addition, career commitment is dependent on perceived opportunities for career advancement and the opportunity to receive satisfaction through rewards. A study conducted by Lin and Chang (2005) found that employees who quit organizations to work for another company for a higher salary are not less committed to their career than those who stay in the organization and accept in-house promotions.

Career Influences of Mentors
Poon (2003) recognized several studies that revealed individual variables that influence career success. These variables were demographic (Gattiker and Larwood, 1998), dispositional traits (Seibert et al., 1999), motivation (O’Reilly and Chatman, 1994), political influence behavior (Judge and Bretz, 1991), education (Childs and Kilmoski, 1996), and job tenure (Judge et al., 1995). Much of the body of research has been devoted to career commitment, and most of them agree that the level of organizational productiveness is a direct reflection of the career commitment of employees (Carmeli and Freund, 2004). And career commitment has a strong relationship with career satisfaction and success.

Mentors within a profession are in the position to develop and enhance the emotional intelligence of their protégés. Emotional intelligence is identified as a separate type of intelligence, which requires the existence of other intelligences. (Ashkanasy and Daus, 2002) Several models of emotional intelligence have been suggested for conceptualization and application, and the most popular models tend to consist of personality, motivation, and relationship skills. More specifically, emotional intelligent models consist of self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, social kills, values, beliefs and fitness. (Poon, 2003)

Although emotional intelligence is a theoretical topic of its own, the elements that make it are an essential part of career success, satisfaction, and ultimately commitment to a career. It is widely used by mentors in the development of their protégés. Holding these notions to be true, mentors who provided sufficient psychological and career-related functional tasks can position their protégés to obtain greater development in their self-efficacy and career development. This notion also lends itself to the solution of the U.S. Army’s struggles to train and retain soldiers in diverse cultures, societies, and environments.

A research conducted by W. Dean Lee (2002) on Determinants Influencing Military Service Members to Separate or Remain on Active Duty; the study looked into several areas using theories from March and Simon decision to participate, Vroom’s composite characteristics of job satisfaction, Lee and Mitchell’s concept of four shock pathways, identity theory, attribution theory, McClelland’s motivational concept for achievement, and reason service members cite as being the most influential reasons for separating; none of the theories could explain why service members decided to separate or remain on active duty. But, as noted earlier, mentorship not only preserves organizational knowledge, it also develops employees through the sharing and transfer of knowledge.

Summary
The concept of mentorship has raised some issues within the academic community. Researchers claim the ability to obtain valid results from research within the realm of mentorship can be difficult. Robert and Wrench (1985) argues that traditional models are used for research that may not support the study and this could produce flawed results.

Mentoring can be classified as teaching an understudy the techniques and application of a craft; techniques not taught in traditional academic organizations and can only be learned through practical experience on the job. Or it may be classified as the teaching of etiquette of a society, culture, or organization known to only a few. Regardless of how mentoring is used or practiced, it is the passing of knowledge, technical skills, experiences, lessons, etc. that enables a protégé to develop professionally and personally is at the heart of mentorship

A critical finding in the literature was the dynamics of attraction that mentors and protégés have when selecting each other. Researchers suggest that the act of selecting a protégé or mentor is based on a social, cultural, or ethnic basis. These phenomena tend to leave groups of minority protégés limited in their quest to obtain a mentor; it further suggests that the basis of mentor selection puts minority at a greater disadvantage when attempting to climb the corporate ladder.

The U.S. Army has a long-established mentorship program, but recent research concluded that although junior enlisted soldiers, NCOs, officers, and civilians felt mentoring was needed; some senior officers took a negative approach towards the idea of its existence in the Army. The Army Chief and Vice Chief of Staff made note that the Army is in dire need of an active mentorship program. The only question is how to market a program in the organization, encourage its use, while not making it mandatory.

More than 2,000 articles have been written on mentorship and there is enough evidence to support that mentoring does influence the decision career commitment of protégés. However, there is no available research to suggest the effect mentors have on the decision of U.S. Army soldiers to reenlist or commit to a lifelong career in the military.

Although research has been conducted surrounding the career commitment of employees, results have not  been strong enough to support any notion as to what elements enhance the probability of employees being more committed to a career when compared to an employee with different experiences, qualities, or positions.

If data from this research supports the notion that mentorship is needed to help reduce the army’ attrition rate, the multicultural-feminist mentoring model is the most advanced and versatile model to date. Using these data, coupled with a training and assessment program that is explicitly designed for success, the army could reduce its attrition rate, while identifying the potential of individual soldiers to succeed.

 

CHAPTER III. METHODOLOGY
Introduction
The creation of new knowledge demands an appropriate research method (Cooper & Schindler, 2003). This chapter will present a blueprint of the processes that will be used to collect and analyze data; the collection instruments; the population of targeted participants; the process and documents that will be used to protect the confidentiality of all participants; and a projected time frame of events.

The primary purpose of this study is to confirm if mentorship in the U.S. Army has enough influence on the career commitment of soldiers to reenlist. Literature suggest that the availability of minority mentors is less when compared to their counterpart; base on these findings, this study will attempt to discover if a correlation exist between the ethnic identity of mentors and protégés. This study will also explore the notion that soldiers, who have mentors affiliated with the Army, have a higher commitment level towards a military career than soldiers whose mentor has no Army affiliation.

As a result of this study, findings may reveal practical processes for the improvement of the U.S. Army’s mentorship program. If results support hypothesis #1, then it would be plausible to suggest that a more active army mentorship program would help resolve the attrition problem, as well as improve the development of soldiers.  This chapter will be presented in two parts; the first part will describe the methodology and the second part will describe the design of the research.

Part 1: Description of Methodology

This section describes the overall research method that will be used; it’s a systematic 3 phase process of 11 sequential steps.

Phase I: Gather Existing Research

Step 1: A review of academic, government, and commercial studies within the last 35 years focusing on the relationship of mentors and protégés; the developmental advantage of having a mentor; retention & attrition issues in the U.S. army; and the elements of career commitment.

Step 2: Relevant findings were noted for detailed review and comparison.

1.      The problem statement: with an annual recruitment budget of nearly $250 million and a 15 percentage attrition rate; the U.S. army is losing critical institutional knowledge.

2.      Possible solution to the stated problem: the implementation of a formal mentorship program.

3.      Phenomenon found during literature review: the literature review prevailed that social, cultural, and ethnicity are major factors in mentor/mentee selection. Based on these findings, the collected data will be analyzed to confirm if such phenomena exist in the U.S. army mentor/mentee selection process.

Step 3: A literature review was created with all relevant theories and findings.

 

Phase II: Develop and Execute a Plan of Inquiry

Step 4: In order to present an acceptable research proposal to the researcher’s mentor (Dr. Cammann), an ongoing process of brainstorming and revisions will take place.

Step 5: The sample population for the study will consist of obtaining 100-125 questionnaires from U.S. active duty s                                                                                                                                                            oldiers. Because this research is focused on the career decision to stay in the Army or exit after the soldier’s commitment is up, it is not relevant if the soldier is an enlisted or officer service member. Neither will gender or age be relevant for participating in the research. The primary sample population will come from the State of Georgia of the United States. However, in order to obtain the desired number of questionnaires for analysis, the issuance and collection of questionnaires may extend beyond this region.

Step 6: The data collection instruments will consist of a questionnaire of 50-60 questions, which will be used as the primary instrument for collecting data. The questions will be design so that responses will be supportive or unsupportive data in relation to the research questions.

Step 7: Create a measurement instrument, use existing ones, or adopt one from what has been previously used.

Step 8: Verify the validity and reliability of the questionnaire and measurement instrument with a pilot study of 5 volunteered soldiers. These soldiers won’t be eligible for the research.

Step 9:   Collection of Data – To aid in the validity of hypotheses and theories, the research will require a formal process of capturing, protecting, and analyzing data. This will be accomplished using the following process.  .

i.            To protect the identity of U.S. service members from Senior Officers, the researchers will take the following steps.

1.         Obtain written permission from the Department of the Army to conduct this research with voluntary participation of active soldier member.

2.         The researcher will protect participants’ confidentiality by requesting Certificates of Confidentiality, which will protect participants from Civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings at federal, state, or local levels.

3.         To further protect participants from disclosing information that could be incriminating, question will only solicit information needed for this research

ii)          Obtain signed Consent Form from willing participant (See Appendix A)

1.         Information collected from the questionnaire will be coded to protect participants’ identity.

2.         Soldier members must be within their reenlistment window of 12 months.

Step 10: Issuing and Controlling questionnaires – All questionnaires will be controlled; they will be issued only to participants and results only seen by the researcher. The process of issuing questionnaires will happen in one of two ways.

ii.            Questionnaires will be delivered to participants by the researcher.

iii.            Questionnaires will be available at the Installation re-enlistment office.

The Reenlistment Officer will provide copies of the questionnaire, a copy of the Consent Form, and provided my contact information. There will also be a box with a pad lock to secure questionnaires when responses have been annotated.

 

Phase III: Analysis Data

Step 11: The use of Confirmatory Research provides the opportunity to separate the significance of data into two category; which are supported or unsupported data, in relation to the presented hypotheses. With the use of the open coding and using the interpretative analyzes concept, results will present an explanation of the life experiences, in regard to their social and developmental growth in the U.S. army, (Seldon, 2005) this form of analyzing is expected be used throughout all collect data in this study.

 

Part II: Research Design

 

This section describes elements of the research: background information, description of the data collection instrument, operational variables, sample population and source of data, instrumentation validity and reliability, data collection, and data processing analysis.

In order to determine the relationship of mentorship with career commitment this research will employ questionnaire and survey. The researcher will also look to historical records and compare them to the data collected. Baseline data will be gathered using survey and questionnaire sheets given to active duty soldiers. The questions are so designed to elicit their feelings towards the military as a place for career growth and personal fulfillment.

This study will use simple instruments, modifying them to suit this particular situation. The main instrument will be observation logs, questionnaires and surveys that will elicit a discernible pattern of attitudes among soldiers. To address the limitations of the questionnaire and survey method, observations will be performed to validate the results of the questionnaires and surveys. Observation will take place in a natural setting, and the subjects are unaware that their behavior is being monitored.

Background Information

As previously mentioned, this will be confirmatory research. The researcher already has an idea of the veracity of the correlation of mentorship with career commitment. As such, this paper intends to prove the theories and support them with observable facts. Most of the supporting background has already been provided by previous studies and the aim of this paper is to determine the extent to which an effective mentorship program can possibly influence the decision of a recruit to stay in the military service after their tour of duty.

 

Data Collection Instrument

The collection of data will be by way of issuing a six page questionnaire (see Appendix B, C and D). It should take each participant 20-25 minutes to complete the questionnaire. Appendix B is a Demographic and Career Questionnaire, consisting of 10 questions. Appendix C is the main questionnaire consisting of 3 pages with seven areas and 52 questions. The responses are captured on the Likert-Scaled, with a range of 1 through 5; 1 represents strongly disagree and 5 represents strongly agree. Appendix D consist a 2 pages and 10 questions with 3 fill in responses each.

The design and formulation of each question considered the population the questionnaire is targeted to. In addition, consideration was given to how each question might trigger the most honest response by not being too specific on asking if the responded failed to prepare or meet careers goals due to lack of self motivation. Word usage was also considered, some questions were asked more than once, in different areas of the questionnaire. The purpose of this was to obtain an honest response for the topic the question under review.

The questionnaire is attended to present a clear focus in the seven areas presented. The bullet like question represents a straight forward approach to asking a question, likewise, the Likert-scale is designed to obtain a general but direct response. Overall the questionnaire consists of 9 areas of inquiry:

1.      The solicitation of demographic information will be used for more than general administrative data; it will be analyzed to determine the ethnicity factors for hypothesis #3.

2.      The focus of career support on the questionnaire is to capture data from the participants regarding the general support obtain during their career decision and selection process.

3.      The focus of career path on the questionnaire is to capture data regarding the support, method, knowledge and goals of obtaining a particular career path.

4.      The focus of obtaining a mentor on the questionnaire is to capture data regarding the realities experienced by soldiers regarding obtaining a mentor. Moreover this section also hopes to gather data to identify if ethnicity identity played a role in their mentor/mentee selection process.

5.      The focus of having a on the questionnaire is designed to capture the mentor experience of the mentee by soliciting data that will answer questions of the social, cultural and benefit challenges.

6.      The focus of the mentor programs on the questionnaire is design to capture the knowledge of or the acknowledgement of the U.S. army’s formal mentorship program.

7.      The focus of career goals on the questionnaire is designed to capture any career goals and if someone was an inspiration to such goals.

8.      The focus of social support on the questionnaire is designed to capture support or guidance received to help overcome social barriers while pursuing a career, goal or quality of life.

9.      Appendix D consisting of 2 pages, presents ten questions with the opportunity to respond to each with three responses. The design of this section is to capture the various reason to entering, exiting the army. This section is also designed to capture additional information on the relationship experienced with obtaining a mentor.

This method used to capture data from Appendix B, C and D is necessary to capture specifics mention above; moreover, is essential in gather the dynamics of every participant’s experience.

Operational Variables

The Dependent variable will be the influence that mentorship programs have on the career commitment of soldiers.

The Independent variables are the presence and quality of mentorship programs in the U.S, and whether they are implicitly or explicitly implemented.

 

Sample Population and Source of Data

 

The premise of a sampling is anchored on the fact that it researchers cannot be conducted on everyone in the population. Sampling aims to extract a representational portion of the research subject and from there, be able to extrapolate the results as predictive of the rest of population. In this particular case, stratified sampling will be used to ensure that all subgroups within the army’s vast organization are properly taken into consideration and represented.

The sample population for the study will consist of 100-125 active duty soldiers. Because this research is focused on the career decision to stay in the Army or exit after the soldier’s commitment is up, it is not relevant if the soldier is as enlisted or officer service member. Neither will gender or age be relevant for participating in the research. The primary sample population will come from the State of Georgia of the United States. However, in order to obtain the desired number of questionnaires for analysis, the issuing and collection of questionnaires may extend beyond this region.

Instrumentation Validity and Reliability

 

Reliability and validity are the two benchmarks of research integrity. These two characteristics legitimize the data and make the findings credible and authentic. Validity refers to construct or content; whether the test measures what it aims to measure. (Campbell, 1993, p.1) Reliability is the extent to which the test is consistent and dependable. Between the two, validity is more important because a test is worthless if it does not hit the target. In this case, the instruments must be able to determine how active duty soldiers feel about mentorship programs and how it can help them improve their sense of career commitment and career satisfaction.

A validity test is always reliable, but not all reliable tests are valid. Therefore it is important to establish validity because it is the anchor that will keep the data focused and on target. Some tests are reliable in the sense that they consistently measure the wrong things, producing dependable results but testing the wrong target. (Campbell, 1993) Reliability is independent of construct and is purely a matter of reproducibility; whether the same tests would yield the same results again and again. Reliability can only be established by administering the same test in the same subject. Because the subject is constant, then the test should yield the same results. (Aneshensel, 2004)

Data Collection

 

Data collection is the actual process of gathering evidence to support a hypothesis. For this specific study, several methods of data collection will be employed. Aside from the survey and questionnaire, this research will also base its analysis on the historical records of the Army if they are available.  Observations will also play a role in the research.

The historical data is simply the information that the Army has regarding attrition rates of recruits during basic training and after tour of duty. These will be analyzed, and hopefully from there, be able to generate some generalizations. The historical data is limited by what the Army has and what they are willing to disclose. Hopefully the Army will be willing to participate because any findings will help improve their existing system in such a way that benefits the soldiers, the organization, and the rest of society.

As part of the data collection procedures, observation will be used both in the preliminary, actual, and end stages of the research. Observation is very effective to perform initial exploration of an area which can then be further studied using more focused methods. It is also useful in the end stages of a study as a means of checking information collected in a different way (Sapsford, Jupp, 2006, p. 58)

For the questionnaire, a simple design intended to determine how soldiers view mentorship and whether or not it can help soldiers in their sense of career commitment and ensuing career satisfaction. Also the questionnaire will include questions on how soldiers view the entire organization as a whole and determine what aspects of the institution they will change if given a chance. The questionnaire will be in the form of a narrative so that the respondents will be able to more freely express their views and feelings. Through a narrative questionnaire, the research will also try to find out the prevalent beliefs of soldiers about their superiors. These beliefs will then be compared with how they actually behave towards their superiors or mentors.

For the observation part of the research, the subjects should be informed that they will be observed. However, in order to keep the observations as natural and honest, the actual people need not be informed that they will be observed on this specific day or time. In these cases, ethical considerations may affect the patency and honesty of the subjects, so ethical considerations should be weighed carefully against the importance of the data being collected. Observation, by nature is deceptive (Musante, 2002, p. 198) because if it were known beforehand, then the data will be “faked” or unnatural, and this defeats the purpose of the observation. However this is not to say that observation must be unethical. The subjects must have informed consent. All the participants in this research will be informed of observations, but the exact nature and specific details will not be given to them.

Data Processing Analysis

 

To measure correlation that exists between the gathered data, Pearson’s correlation will be used to analyze the relationship of career commitment and mentorship. Measures of central tendencies such as the mean, mode, median, and standard deviation will be used to check how the data in every area is dispersed or highly different from each other, or if they are tightly clustered around the average or the mean.

To determine the relationship of the averages between and among strata, either the t-test or the ANOVA can be used. If only two means from two groups are to be compared, then the t-test should suffice. However in this case, the ANOVA will be used because there are multiple groups to be compared. Finally, once the data has been analyzed using statistical methods, the causality between career commitment and mentorship can thus be quantified. From here, specific guidelines and directives can be formulated which will form the basis of a mentorship program that can be institutionalized within the U.S. Army’s organization.

Grounded Theory
When conducting social research, the complexity of natural phenomenon must be met with flexible methods of collecting and comparing data (Locke, 2001).The use of Grounded Theory (GT) allows analysis of data and the formulation of hypothesis to occur simultaneously within a social environments (Selden, 2005). This theory complements the framework of an exploratory investigation, a process that will be used in the building of hypothesis and possible empirical theories for the Research Questions (see Figure 2).
Restatement of the Research Question
This study will gather and assess data, which is found to be supportive or unsupportive in regard to the following hypotheses:

1.      U.S. Army soldiers’ career choices can be influenced by having a mentor.

2.      U.S. Army soldiers with mentors that are or have been affiliated with the Army, have a higher commitment level to making the Army a career.

3.      There is a correlation between the ethnic identity of mentors and the ethnic identity of protégés in the U.S. Army.

Projected Time of Completion
Month One:

-Obtain necessary written permission from the Department of the Army.

-Issue questionnaires on Fort Gordon

-Analyze questionnaires

-Conduct interviews (open coding technique)

Month Two:

-Continue to issue questionnaires on Fort Gordon; initiate questionnaires on Fort Steward, if needed.

-Continue interviews

-Analyze questionnaires

-Conduct interviews

Month Three:

-Complete Interviews, Analysis, and Coding Process

-Start written diction of results chapter

Limitation of the Research
The findings of this research are to identify possible solutions to the U.S. Army’s attrition rate. Although it is not intended for populations or organization outside the one mentioned; reference of this data and findings may apply to organization with community, cultural, social, or organizational structure of a military or large and complex organizations.

Due to the size, location, and different sub-organizations in the Army, the population sample will be limited to available soldiers in the state of Georgia. The selected population will be identified as a sample group, representing the general population of the Army.

Ethical Consecration

 

This research will treat all data with utmost confidentiality and respect. And data gathered will only be used for the specific purpose of the research and the researches will not disclose any information that is not pertinent to the subject at hand. The research will be conducted with express permission of the participants, and the researcher will provide all the necessary information that the target subject needs to decide whether to participate in the study or not.

 

 

 

Figure 3

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Appendix A

 

Informed Consent

 

 

I,_________________________________________, hereby agree to participate as a subject in the research project entitled “Mentorship Aid in the Stability of Career Commitment: An Exploration of the Influence Mentors have on U.S. Service Members” conducted by Cedric M. Harris under the supervision of Dr. Cortland Cammann.

 

It has been explained that the purpose of this research is to learn more about the influence mentors have on their protégés career commitment. I understand that the only risk associated with the study other than inconvenience of my time is minor psychological discomfort due to possible self reflection of uncertain career paths; this discomfort is expected to be nothing more than frustration. Although knowledge from this study may be used to benefit others in the future, I have not been nor will I be promised any direct benefit from participating in this study.

 

I understand my participation in this study is confidential with regard to my personal identity and information. My responses will be stored and protected from any third parties. In addition to protection, I understand I will not be identified personally by the researcher, but will be assigned a code number when responses are viewed by a third party affiliated with Capella University.

 

I understand my participation is voluntary and this study is no way affiliated with the U.S. Army or its regulations. I am free to withdraw or omit any questions asked on the questionnaire or during an interview process.  CPT. Cedric M Harris has offered to answer any questions expected of me during this voluntary study. I may call Dr. Cammann @ or CPT Cedric Harris @ 1-907-952-4657

 

If problems result regarding this study, I may reported the situation to

 

I have read and fully understand the information in this Consent Form

 

 

 

____________________________________                                  ________________

Participant’s signature                                                                                  Date

 

 

I have the undersigned, have fully explained all the terminology and processes mentioned above to this willing participant.

 

 

 

____________________________________                                  _________________

Researcher’s signature                                                                      Date

 

 

Appendix B

 

Demographic and Career Questionnaire

 

1. Age:­­­_________ 2. Marital Status: Single  Married    Divorced    Separated     Widowed

 

3. Race: Black (none Hispanic)  White (none Hispanic)  Native American

Asian American   Other (please specify)__________________

 

4. Military Rank:______  5. Primary MOS:_________   6.Duty Position:__________________

 

7. Years of Service in the U.S. Army: ______________________

 

8. Highest Level of Education Completed:

HS Degree    Associate’s    Bachelor’s     Master’s     Doctoral    Other (specify)______________

 

9. Highest degree you’re planning to pursue:

Associate’s     Bachelors     Master’s     Doctoral       Other (specify)_______________________

 

10.  Occupation you want(ed) to pursue while in the Military (Branch, Officer Corps, Warrant Officer Corps, or specific MOS: _________________________________________

 
Appendix C

Section 1: Questionnaire

Please refer to the 5 point scale ranging from strongly disagree (1) to strongly agree (5).

1                      2                      3                      4                      5

Strongly Disagree                                                                 Strongly Agree

Career Support

1
I could count on someone to be there for support when I made career decisions.
1
2
3
4
5
2
There was someone who supported me in the career choices I made
1
2
3
4
5
3
I only had family members support, when it came to career decisions
1
2
3
4
5
4
There was no one to show me how to get to the next level in my Career
1
2
3
4
5
5
The Army Chain of Command Structure was enough to navigate me to the next level
1
2
3
4
5
6
There was no one who support me in the career choices I made
1
2
3
4
5
7
I had all the support I needed to be successful
1
2
3
4
5
8
In my current career path, there was no one who inspired me
1
2
3
4
5
9
My current leadership provided enough career support
1
2
3
4
5
10
Types of duties I performed were challenging and developmental
1
2
3
4
5
11
The Operational tempo was developmental
1
2
3
4
5
Career Path

1
Someone helped me consider my career path
1
2
3
4
5
2
Someone helped me weigh the pros and cons of the career choices I made.
1
2
3
4
5
3
Someone stood by me, when I made important career decisions.
1
2
3
4
5
4
Someone who showed me strategies for a successful career
1
2
3
4
5
5
When I joined the Army, I knew the career path I wanted to take
1
2
3
4
5
6
My career path has changed with the help of someone else
1
2
3
4
5
7
Having a career path is important
1
2
3
4
5
8
Predictability of future assignments were always known
1
2
3
4
5
Obtaining a Mentor

1
Getting a mentor is difficult
1
2
3
4
5
2
Getting a mentor is easy
1
2
3
4
5
3
I don’t know enough to become a protégé or mentee
1
2
3
4
5
4
Gender matters when selecting a mentor
1
2
3
4
5
5
Ethnic background matters when selecting a mentor
1
2
3
4
5
6
Social background matters when selecting a mentor
1
2
3
4
5
Having a Mentor

1
Having a mentor is very important when dealing with occupational challenges
1
2
3
4
5
2
Having a mentor is very important when dealing with social challenges
1
2
3
4
5
3
Having a mentor is very important when dealing with cultural challenges
1
2
3
4
5
4
Having a mentor is very important when dealing with family challenges
1
2
3
4
5
5
It’s easier to get promoted when a mentor is involved
1
2
3
4
5
6
There’s greater opportunity and benefits to having a mentor
1
2
3
4
5
Mentorship Programs

1
The Army has a formal mentorship program
1
2
3
4
5
2
The Army doesn’t have a formal mentorship program
1
2
3
4
5
3
A mentorship program would do little good for my career success
1
2
3
4
5
4
Being in a mentorship program takes up too much time, when compared to its rewards
1
2
3
4
5
5
Workload requirements were designed to excel my work concept and knowledge
1
2
3
4
5
6
Professional development opportunities were frequent & designed by immediate supervisor
1
2
3
4
5
7
I find my job challenging & rewarding
1
2
3
4
5
8
My success and contributions are properly recognized
1
2
3
4
5
Career Goals

1
There was someone, whose career I wanted to pursue
1
2
3
4
5
2
There was someone I wanted to be like in my Career Field or Profession
1
2
3
4
5
3
There’s someone I admire in the career path I’m pursuing within the next year.
1
2
3
4
5
4
I completed all my goals during my service in the US Army
1
2
3
4
5
5
A mentor would have been beneficial in helping me accomplish career goals
1
2
3
4
5
6
My duty assignments opportunities were supportive to my career goals
1
2
3
4
5
7
Promotional opportunities supported career goals
1
2
3
4
5
Social support

1
There was someone who showed me strategies for a successful life
1
2
3
4
5
2
The Social support I’ve received while in the Army was sufficient enough to help my career
1
2
3
4
5
3
The ability to cross social barriers is very important to career success
1
2
3
4
5
4
The ability to cross cultural barriers is very important to career success
1
2
3
4
5
5
Geographical stability was more important than career desires
1
2
3
4
5
 

 

 

 

Appendix D

1.      What are three reasons that made you initially JOIN the military?

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

2.      What are three reasons that influenced you to LEAVE Active Duty?

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

3.      Name three expectation you hope to experience in your civilian career.

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

4.      Name three reasons that caused you the most mental or physical stress, which influenced you to leave Active Duty.

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

5.      What were three things that your Mentor did that contributed to the influence of you remanding in the military?

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

6.      What three things your mentor could have done to influenced your decision to remand in the military?

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

7.      Name three things that made your mentor valuable to your career achievement.

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

8.      What are three negative experiences you had with your mentor?

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

9.       Name three things that drew you towards obtaining a mentor.

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

10.  Name three things that kept you from obtaining a mentor.

a.       __________________________________________

b.      __________________________________________

c.       __________________________________________

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