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Antecedents and outcomes of personnel perceptions of the effectiveness of career management practices in the New Zealand Defence Force : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Psychology at Massey University
This research examined antecedents and outcomes of perceptions of the effectiveness of career management practices (PECMP) using a military sample. Past research has shown mixed results regarding the relationship between experiencing career management practices and organisational commitment and turnover intentions; however positive relationships have been found when perceptions of career management are measured. This present study hypothesised that PECMP would be positively related to commitment (affective and continuance) and job satisfaction and negatively related to turnover intentions. Based on the literature a number of variables were hypothesised as antecedents of PECMP. A sample of 436 Regular Force New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel responded to a NZDF attitude survey, which measured commitment, job satisfaction, turnover intentions, PECMP and 13 proposed antecedents of PECMP. Regression analysis showed that PECMP was positively related to affective commitment and job satisfaction but not to continuance commitment. Job satisfaction and affective and continuance commitment were negatively related to turnover intentions, with affective commitment the strongest contributor. PECMP was higher when career management was perceived as fair, sufficient feedback was given, personnel felt satisfied with their past career development, expectations were met, personnel felt they had input into their career development and personnel perceived the NZDF valued their career development. The study also found that one-to-two times per year was perceived as sufficient contact with a career manager and that the frequency of contact influenced attitudes towards the career manager. Personnel who defined their career as the military, opposed to their trade, were more affectively committed to the NZDF but not less likely to intend to leave. Personnel viewed career success differently (laterally and hierarchically), but this did not influence PECMP or career development satisfaction. This study provides empirical support for the benefits of effective career management in the reduction of voluntary turnover in the military via its influence on affective commitment and in turn, intentions to leave. The study also identifies features of best practice career management that should be used when designing and, most importantly, implementing career management.