A Case Study: Exploring the Use of Lessons Learned by Air Force Senior Leaders

A Case Study: Exploring the Use of Lessons Learned by Air Force Senior Leaders

Author: 
Wayne C. Clark
Program of study: 
D.M.
Abstract: 
This study presents the specific use of lessons learned by Air Force senior leaders. This qualitative exploratory case study investigated how Air Force senior leaders actually used lessons learned. This study used a descriptive framework comprised of organizational change, learning, management theory, and shared vision as a special interest. Face-toface semi-structured interviews were used along with a purposeful snowball approach. The participants were retired USAF General Officers with Air Staff experience, who live in the Washington, District of Columbia area. The results of this study revealed four major themes and two sub-themes based mostly on participant’s feedback, reflection on experience, and a review of the information available in the Joint Lessons Learned Information System (JLLIS) database. The research discovered senior leaders have a low regard for a formal lessons learned process, relied more on mentorship than a formal process to share information, and a common understanding for what the term lessons learned really means.
Dedication: 
This dissertation is dedicated to my wife Mary A. Clark, all the current and former members of the Air Force Lessons Learned community, and my good friends and colleagues John Howard, Cara Grant, Robert Green, Dr. Bryan Harris. To my father Clarence Clark for being there in spirit to encourage me along.
Acknowledgements: 
Giving honor to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for through Him all things are possible. Without God’s unwavering mercy and grace, this journey would have not been possible. To acknowledge Mary for her love, patience, and support as well as all my family, friends, colleagues, for their faith and encouragement. A special thank you to my chair Dr. Ricky Fenwick and committee members Dr. Geri Popadak and Dr. Jules (Dr. Jay) Klagge. Their guidance and support through each difficult and challenging step of this journey was priceless—thank you all so very much. A special thank you to Dr. Jacqueline Henningsen, former Director of Air Force Studies, Analysis, Assessments, and Lessons Learned and Maj. Gen. Timothy J. Leahy, Commander, Curtis E. LeMay Center for Doctrine Development and Education, and Vice Commander, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama for their support in pursuing my dream. To the current and former members of Air Force Lessons Learned--thank you so much for being such great teammates. Your friendship and support were instrumental. I would also like to thank Mr. Dale Shoupe and Mr. Paul McVinney for their support and help in getting this done. Lastly, my father Clarence Clark (1924 – 2000) for his unwavering motivation and constant encouragement to always strive to be the best.