This study reveals the leadership attributes utilized by successful private aerospace industry executives. These attributes have been proven necessary to transform organizational culture in a performance-based business environment, resulting in positive outcomes of a collaborative performance-based culture. The study utilized a qualitative case study method to identify effective leadership attributes for delivering outstanding performance characteristics recognized by the DoD and aerospace industry. Multiple forms of data collection include results of a Leadership Practices Inventory® assessment and formal interviews of 5 senior leaders from three major aerospace companies. These leaders were chosen because of their involvement with premier life cycle sustainment acquisition programs either as an innovator, pathfinder, or employees who have proven themselves in the execution of a performance-based contract. This performance-based environment includes names such as performance-based logistics (PBL), life cycle systems sustainment, and performance-based life cycle support. Regardless of the name, this transformational approach to contracting is recognized as a successful strategy for providing weapon system support when and where it is needed to support the warfighter mission, while providing best value. Conceptual support through review of related literature was necessary, and supports the study. The study identifies those key leadership attributes proven effective in performance-based environments, the impact to organizational culture, and outcomes resulting from that culture. The clear themes of leadership attributes derived from this study include transformational actions of keeping customers at the forefront of key decisions, empowering teams, and driving innovation. These are examples of enablers for organizational culture driven by a common vision, mission, and goals aligned with stakeholders' needs and leading to performance outcomes that effectively balance cost, performance, and other customer imperatives. This study provided the opportunity to bridge theory and practice through research and evaluation of salient issues and relevant organizational concerns for leading a performance-based life cycle sustainment program. This research concludes that organizations working together in a collaborative integrated product team (IPT) environment have substantial benefits leading to cost reduction, reduced risk, and optimized fleet war readiness for U.S. military.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Rosensitto, Michelle;