Since the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, there has been an increase in American patriotism that has facilitated a strong commitment of U.S. employers to actively recruit and hire military veterans. These highly publicized employer veteran hiring commitments easily number in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. However, the commitments to employ veterans does not specify how these veterans will be employed. In fact, there is wide-spread difficulty in translating military training and experience to civilian applications, and there is virtually no empirical support as to whether veterans will be more of less successful in civilian employment than their civilian developed counterparts.

The problem of predicting the successful integration of veterans into civilian employment is particularly challenging when assessing managerial and leadership skills. To date there are no published studies that objectively compare veteran and civilian developed leadership success in a civilian employment context. As such, there is no empirical support for the long-held belief that military veterans are “better’ leaders, nor is there any empirical evidence that they are not.

This study compares the perceived managerial / leadership effectiveness of both veteran and civilian developed leaders in civilian contexts by conducting a quantitative research study. The study was conducted through the utilization of a validated survey tool developed by the researcher. Response data was from the subordinate perspective and consisted of a representative sample of both military veteran and civilian developed leaders employed by U.S. civilian employers.

Date of publication

Summer 7-1-2016

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Dr. Ann Gilley, Dr. Heather McMillan, Dr. Jerry Gilley, Dr. Judy Sun


Doctor of Philosophy in Human Resource Development