Date of Conferral
Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)
The military faces unprecedented limitation of resources due to fiscal cuts through all branches of service. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore succession planning (SP) strategies used by Air National Guard leaders to retain skilled workers. The target population consisted of 5 leaders of the Washington Air National Guard (ANG) with a minimum of 5 years of experience in the ANG. The five tenured candidates were selected given proven leadership performance, ability to influence the organization, and they provided institutional knowledge and corporate insight of SP efforts spanning nearly a century. Additionally, these leaders had direct first-hand experience with local selective retention process and successful force management practices. The conceptual framework included organizational leadership theory, succession theory, and employee retention. Semistructured interviews were conducted and relevant documents collected. All interpretations from the data were subjected to member checking to ensure trustworthiness of findings. Coding, clustering, and thematic analysis were methods used for data analysis. Prominent ideas and actions taken were coded, common codes were clustered and themes evolved. Based on the methodological triangulation of data, 5 themes surfaced: (a) skills focus verses strategic, (b) informal verses formal SP, (c) individual verses organizational, (d) priority for retention verses recruitment, and (e) limited skill leads to mission gaps. The application of the findings from the study may contribute to social change by inspiring military leadership to adopt more strategic succession planning and ensure business sustainability by changing existing SP from a recruitment-based technique to culture of retention.