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Job mobility in primary education: empowering teachers to come in motion! : different determinants involved in teachers' mobility decisions

Kok-Willemsen, M. (2016) Job mobility in primary education: empowering teachers to come in motion! : different determinants involved in teachers' mobility decisions.

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Abstract:There is a new sense of urgency regarding job mobility in primary education in the Netherlands. Schools are faced with regional labour market challenges such as decreasing pupil numbers. Consequently, schools must reduce their teaching staff, resulting in forced job mobility of teachers within or between schoolboards. These obliged transfers could be facilitated or even prevented by more voluntary mobility of teachers. At the same time, voluntary job mobility offers teachers the opportunity to develop professionally in the context of the school. This change of situation and environment might lead to new insights and skills to broaden teachers’ educational potential. This is a necessity in a changing educational labour market, which asks teachers to stay versatile up to retirement age. Despite the possibilities, both external as well as internal job mobility of primary education staff In the Netherlands is relatively low. An important reason for this, is that schoolboards often lack a goal-oriented mobility policy. Embedding well thought mobility policy into the Human Resource Development policy (HRD policy) of primary schools, would provide favourable circumstances for school boards and teachers, in order for job mobility to take place. However, to set up and implement an HRD policy that addresses teachers’ mobility considerations, an increased understanding of why teachers stay or why they leave is necessary. Therefore, the aim of this study was to explore different factors (so-called determinants) to find out which determinants play a role for primary school teachers to either become engaged in voluntary or forced mobility or not. Research on these determinants of job mobility, relevant for the primary educational sector, is scarce (especially regarding voluntary versus forced mobility decisions). For this purpose, an exploratory, multiple case study was conducted at a primary schoolboard in the centre of the Netherlands. A theoretical framework of determinants of job mobility in different sectors was used, to find out whether these apply to the primary educational sector as well. Three different point of views on job mobility are represented in this framework. The decision to become mobile (or not) seems to be the result of the interaction between structural determinants (availability of mobility options), individual determinants (preference for mobility options) and decisional determinants ( intention to engage in mobility options (related to a teachers’ embeddedness). Four groups of primary school teachers, with experience with voluntary or forced job mobility and teachers having considered a job mobility step and either pursued this or not, were interviewed. Subsequently, these four groups were compared to find out which determinants play a role for teachers in each of the four groups and whether similar or different determinants lead to job mobility or not. The results substantiate the interaction between different determinants on job mobility. Multiple determinants related to the availability of and preference for mobility options played a role for each individual teacher to either engage in mobility or not. However, comparing the four groups revealed that for teachers who decided to go along with a forced mobility step and for teachers who did not (yet) become engaged in job mobility, structural determinants (availability of mobility options) such as job security played an important role. In contrast, for teachers who have chosen mobility voluntarily, individual determinants (preferences for mobility options) such as practical considerations, personal characteristics and professional development emerged from the data. Decisional determinants (intention to engage in mobility options) did play a role for teachers in all four groups but to a lesser extent, except for teachers who did not (yet) become engaged in job mobility. Surprisingly, job embeddedness did not play such an important role for these teachers in staying or leaving. Schoolboards could address these determinants relevant for the different groups of teachers in their HRD policy to promote voluntary mobility of teachers. Furthermore, three specific, group transcending determinants were noticed, namely 1. A clear and transparent vision on mobility (and consequently the mobility policy- and procedure) was recommended by the teachers, 2. Teachers wondered how they will be perceived by other colleagues at the new school? and 3. Professional development determinants teachers mentioned as a reason for and benefit of mobility. These results serve as an advice for schoolboards to invest in their mobility policy, in acquaintance of teachers between schools and a positive image of mobility. Moreover, an advice is offered, from teachers for teachers who consider voluntary mobility, to pursue this challenge. Teachers might not await a forced transfer, which according to teachers has a negative sound to it. Rather, teachers take the initiative to proactively seek out the best position for them to enhance and deploy their qualities which the teaching profession asks of them. Consequently, job mobility empowers teachers to come in motion!
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:81 education, teaching
Programme:Educational Science and Technology MSc (60023)
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