Informing Royal Navy People Strategy: Understanding Career Aspirations and Behaviours of Naval Personnel

Bewley, Elizabeth Emma (2016) Informing Royal Navy People Strategy: Understanding Career Aspirations and Behaviours of Naval Personnel. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


Following a series of imposed redundancies in the Royal Navy (RN) there was a need to understand the career desires of remaining personnel and how these interact with important organisational behaviours and turnover. Taking a social psychology perspective, this thesis addresses criticisms over the high use of non-working populations in research and provides the first empirical evidence for the utility, applicability and relevance of specific psychological theories to the RN. Chapter 2 explores the relationship between career anchors and psychological contract violation, organisational commitment and turnover. Evidence was found for the applicability and potential generalisability of civilian-based research to the RN. RN career anchor preferences were similar to some non-military organisations, and these preferences differentially influenced the variables explored. Chapter 3 presents an intervention developed to support newly appointed Career Managers to increase awareness of human resource issues, representing the first exploration of induction on later attitudes of ‘experienced newcomers’ in the RN. The induction did not influence attitudes; although time did, indicating the importance of role clarity. Chapter 4 provides a critical literature review of work-family conflict (WFC) and its influence on turnover intentions of military personnel and effects on military spouses. The expected negative relationship between WFC and turnover was found, although not consistently; types of satisfaction mediated this relationship, and WFC was linked to stress. Chapter 5 provides new empirical understanding of the interactions between ethos, organisational identity, and engagement on career motivation, perceived future opportunities and intentions to stay. Differences in these constructs were also explored between discrete RN groupings. The relationship between identity and ethos, and engagement, identity and ethos were explored to advance theoretical understanding of these constructs, finishing with an extension to Chapter 2 through revisiting career anchors. In conclusion, this thesis provides new contextual insights, interactions and relationships for academic knowledge, psychological theory and addresses a practical organisational issue within a highly regarded and inaccessible organisation. The outcomes provide the first empirical evidence of career-related behaviours within the RN, and more generally indicate the applicability of civilian based psychological theories to a military population, in particular, career anchors, ethos and focus on opportunities and their importance for people strategy decisions supporting evidence-based decision making within the workplace.

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