Moving forward: Employment post-service for Australian uniformed professionals in the Defence Force, Police, and Emergency Services

Katrina Martin

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Each year approximately 10 000 police, military and emergency services personnel leave their service organisation. The reasons for leaving vary but most of these personnel did not anticipate having to leave, instead believing that they had chosen a long-term career. Their post-service employment is often less satisfying than their service roles even when the working environment and/or conditions are objectively improved. This study explored the reasons why.
The study investigates the extent to which an identity connection to former employment influences job satisfaction post-service for former members of the Australian police, military and emergency services. The military included members from the army, air force and navy, and emergency services included firefighters and paramedics. In-depth interviews of 32 former members of these service organisations were conducted and analysed using a thematic analysis within an interpretative paradigm. The results indicated that these former service individuals have strong identity connections to their former service organisations and define themselves based on their former service roles. In doing so, they experience isolation and disorientation when leaving the service organisation and require support to effectively guide them through the transition process. As a result, typical job satisfaction determinants are inadequate to measure their post-service employment satisfaction. This was informed by the timeline of the participant narrations and the influence of key points in time, being the service environment, the individual experiences, and the transition experience.
Arising out of the analysis is a theory that helps categorise the complex dynamics that environmentally shape the individual experience of service personnel and how that impacts their transition. Introducing post-service identity theory, this newly developed theory explains how service organisations create ‘soldiers’ through training regimes in a hegemonic masculine environment that socially isolate the individuals and create an ‘us and them’ mentality with the non-service world. The exploration reveals that there is no process to un-create the soldiers, leaving them disoriented in the post-service environment.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Business Administration
Awarding Institution
  • Charles Sturt University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Hicks, John, Co-Supervisor
  • Bamberry, Larissa, Principal Supervisor
  • Evans, Michelle, Co-Supervisor
Award date22 Jul 2020
Place of PublicationAustralia
Publisher
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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