Why do they leave? A conceptual model of military turnover

Authored by: H. Canan Sümer , Ipek Mete

The Routledge International Handbook of Military Psychology and Mental Health

Print publication date:  December  2019
Online publication date:  December  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367237066
eBook ISBN: 9780429281266
Adobe ISBN:


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Retaining qualified members is crucial for military organizations, given the high costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and training the personnel. This chapter presents a comprehensive, yet testable, conceptual model of military turnover based on the existing relevant research conducted in both military and civilian contexts. The conceptual model comprises three sets of factors that influence military turnover at the individual level: distal factors (dispositional, job, and organizational characteristics), intermediate factors (person-organization fit, quality of life perceptions, and work attitudes), and proximal factors (turnover intentions and shocks). In the model, quality of life perceptions mediate the relationship between job and organizational characteristics and job satisfaction. Furthermore, job satisfaction and affective commitment largely mediate the effects of distal factors, quality of life perceptions, and person-organization fit on turnover intentions. The model also takes into account the direct role that critical life events or shocks might play in the decision to leave military service. In concluding the chapter, potential theoretical contributions along with avenues for further refinement of the model are discussed.

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