Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Bright Shining Stars: The Mediating Effect of Organizational Image on the Relationship between Work Variables and Army Officers' Intentions to Leave the Service for a Job in High-Tech Industry

Academic journal article Public Personnel Management

Bright Shining Stars: The Mediating Effect of Organizational Image on the Relationship between Work Variables and Army Officers' Intentions to Leave the Service for a Job in High-Tech Industry

Article excerpt

This study examined two aspects of organizational image, namely Current Organization Image (COI) and Alternative Organization Image (AOI), and the way they contribute to our understanding of intentions to leave the organization. We hypothesized that organizational image mediates the relationship between various work variables (e.g., job satisfaction, person-organization fit, job stress) and intentions to leave a current position in military service for a new job in the high-tech industry. The study used a sample of 224 Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) personnel from a special navy unit. This unit consists of a high-quality human potential with ideal characteristics for high-tech industry (young, educated, and innovative individuals). Organizational image (both COl and AOI) was found to mediate the relationship between work variables and intentions to leave. We concluded that organizational image, especially AOI, plays a central role in determining individuals' decisions to leave the military service and join a high-tech firm. Implications of the study are set out theoretically and practically for the Israeli and for the wider international context.

The main goal of this study was to examine the role of organizational image as a possible antecedent of individuals' intentions to leave the organization, primarily to search for a new position in a high-tech firm. The study was driven by recent changes in world economics, such as labor transitions, which are related to the immense growth of high-tech industry and the general multiplication of organizations based on new economics. Despite present difficulties that these organizations are experiencing, there is agreement that their number and their impact on our lives will continue to rise over the long term.

Such developments are naturally characterized by intensifying intentions of employees to leave old-style industries and join high-tech firms of various kinds. In Israel, these trends carry even greater importance and uniqueness due to the continuous leakage of labor force from security-military-oriented industries to the civilian high-tech industry. Until recently, many Israeli organizations in the high-tech industry adopted some exceptional and direct methods to locate young soldiers who served in special and high-quality military units and persuade them to "cross the lines" to join a civilian high-tech firm. The civilian firms were ready to bear all the financial expenses resulting from the legal aspects of breaking a formal contract between these individuals and the army authorities.

Furthermore, we were highly intrigued by the competing image of these two sectors, the military and the high-tech industry, for young talented Israeli individuals in the early stages of their career development. In practice, the IDF is perceived as a good employer for career soldiers and has a general positive image in the eyes of citizens (1) But the Israeli high-tech industry is also regarded as an extremely attractive workplace that offers its members good salaries, interesting jobs, promising promotion alternatives, and a very pleasant work environment. At least in Israel, these two sectors also invest considerable resources in an attempt to attract young qualified individuals and induce them to join the organization and grow with it side by side. We thus set ourselves two primary goals: (1) finding a reliable method of measuring this competitive image and (2) estimating its impact on the decision to stay in military service or leave for a new job in the high-tech industry.

Accordingly, the potential contribution of this study is threefold. First, it is aimed at exploring the meaning and centrality of organizational image for employees by examining at least two forms of image: (1) Current Organization Image (COI) and (2) Alternative Organization Image (AOI). Second, it tries to relate organizational image with various work variables and with intentions to leave a current job. …

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