Undergraduate Management Research as Deliberate Development of Leaders of Character?


  • Emily Bulger United States Air Force Academy
  • Peter Leestma United States Air Force Academy
  • Daphne DePorres United States Air Force Academy




Leaders of Character, Undergraduate Business Management Research, Socio-Technical Systems, Action Learning, Cadet Summer Research Program


The United States Air Force Academy’s mission is to “educate, train, and inspire men and women to become officers of character motivated to lead the U.S. Air Force and Space Force in service to our nation.” Leaders of character are expected to (1) Live Honorably, (2) Lift Others, and (3) Elevate Performance through three critical steps of owning, engaging, and practicing their own development journey. The Cadet Summer Research Program (CSRP) is an institution-wide program that provides selected cadets the opportunity to function as independent adults while conducting research outside the classroom, in both military and civilian institutions. Cadets work on research projects in partnership with organizations across the country and are expected to produce results with real-world applications. Given the considerations explored above, we undertook a nascent exploration of the connection between management majors’ CSRP journey and our deliberate approach in developing leaders of character. We strongly suggest that CSRP, as experienced by management majors, unfolds as a transformative experience that contributes to cadets owning the pursuit of their own identity, engaging in purposeful experiences, and practicing habits of thought and action. During this multifaceted process, cadets put into practice what it takes to live honorably, lift others, and elevate performance in socio-technical systems. In many ways, these systems replicate those they will serve as officers, better preparing them to lead in future conflicts.


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How to Cite

Bulger, E., Leestma, P., & DePorres, D. (2024). Undergraduate Management Research as Deliberate Development of Leaders of Character?. Journal of Character and Leadership Development, 11(1), 33–45. https://doi.org/10.58315/jcld.v11.290





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