Teacher turnover intention: a Social Cognitive Career Theory perspective

PhD Thesis


Bartlett, Cristy L.. 2022. Teacher turnover intention: a Social Cognitive Career Theory perspective. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/q72qq
Title

Teacher turnover intention: a Social Cognitive Career Theory perspective

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorBartlett, Cristy L.
Supervisor
1. FirstProf Peter McIlveen
2. SecondDr Brad McLennan
2. SecondDr Harsha Perera
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages217
Year2022
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/q72qq
Abstract

The rate at which beginning teachers are leaving the profession is of concern in Australia and internationally (Plunkett & Dyson, 2011; Toropova et al., 2021). Teacher turnover affects the individual teachers, their students, and the school systems that they exit, with higher turnover rates negatively impacting on student academic outcomes and creating an additional financial burden of recruiting and inducting new teachers (Borman & Dowling, 2008; Sorensen & Ladd, 2020). Teacher turnover intention estimates a teacher's desire to remain in the teaching profession. Work engagement, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction have been found to influence turnover intention in other professions; however, their combined predictive role in teacher turnover was unclear (Amah, 2009; Dreer, 2021b; Ghiselli et al., 2001; Williams, 2011).

The Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT; Brown & Lent, 2019; Lent & Brown, 2019) well-being model provided the theoretical framework by which to investigate the relationships among personality, contextual, social, and cognitive variables, and their predictive value for work engagement, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction. The aims of this research project were firstly, to investigate to what extent the SCCT well-being model is able to explain teacher work engagement, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction; and secondly, to investigate the relationships between work engagement, job satisfaction, and life satisfaction and teacher turnover intentions.

The SCCT well-being model was operationalised with variables relevant to the domain of the teaching profession, including openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, neuroticism, dispositional optimism, perceived organisational support, teaching self-efficacy, vocational outcome expectations, work engagement, teaching satisfaction, and life satisfaction. Surveys were deployed to obtain measures of the operationalised variables in two studies. The Study 1 sample (N = 371) included preservice teachers enrolled in teacher education programs at a regional Queensland university and in-service Australian teachers. Study 2 participants (N = 394) were teachers from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. The SCCT well-being model provided a testable framework for investigating the predictors of teachers' work engagement, job satisfaction, and turnover intention, accounting for 45.7% and 58.5% of the variance in work engagement, 62.3% and 47.3% of the variance in job satisfaction, and 45.1% and 41.9% of the variance in teachers' life satisfaction in Studies 1 and 2, respectively. Teachers' job satisfaction accounted for 13.0% and 26.7% of the unique variance in turnover intentions in Studies 1 and 2 respectively. Work engagement and life satisfaction, whilst correlated with turnover intention, did not account for any unique variance in turnover intention in the final models of the sequential multiple regression analyses. The findings from this research contribute to the teacher turnover intention literature, and suggest a number of practical implications that universities, schools, and education centres can employ to increase teachers' work engagement, job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and intention to remain in the profession. These interventions include increasing teacher's positive affect at work through positive psychological interventions, increasing teaching self-efficacy through professional development activities such as scenario-based learning, and increasing teacher's perceived organisational support through mentoring programs, and offering teachers ongoing employment contracts. Whilst the cross-sectional design of the study did not provide evidence for causal links among the variables, the SCCT well-being model provided a testable, theorised order of constructs that can be contextualised for specific professions.

KeywordsSocial Cognitive Career Theory, teacher turnover intention, teacher well-being, teachers, preservice teachers
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390307. Teacher education and professional development of educators
520104. Industrial and organisational psychology (incl. human factors)
390412. Teacher and student wellbeing
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Byline AffiliationsLibrary Services
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