Date of Conferral







Gwynne Dawdy


Hierarchies within organizations like the military have often contributed to feelings of subordination and have contributed to lower employee autonomy and a decrease in job satisfaction, motivation, and performance. Other constructs, such as those relating to personality, have been eluded to explain the variance in the poor outcomes. However, despite the research on dominance, autonomy, and personality constructs, there has been little investigation to bridge together the structure and dynamics of personality and autonomy. By applying interpersonal, boundary, control, and contingency theories, this quantitative study bridged the gap between hierarchical levels of military rank, the personality construct of relative dominance, and perceived autonomy in a convenience sample of United States Air Force pararescuemen ( N = 72). Based on a multiple linear regression and post hoc logistic regressions, results indicated that relative dominance and military rank equally and significantly explained the variance in total perceived autonomy for pararescuemen. These findings question the current rank-centric military hierarchy and highlight the importance of personality and qualitative factors that influence perceived autonomy in pararescue, a critical variable throughout organizational psychology. These findings have positive social change implications by encouraging a paradigm shift from a rank-centric to position-centric structure for pararescuemen, a shift that may improve personnel/resource management; reduce organizational costs for military personnel; and increase overall job satisfaction, motivation, performance, recruitment, and retention.