Purpose – The purpose of this study is to test the relationships of learning, organizational commitment and talent retention across managerial generations in Europe. Design/methodology/approach – Hypotheses are developed to explain the influence of learning and organizational commitment on talent retention across generations. A total of 1,666 European managers completed a survey on these issues. Depending on year of birth, they were categorized into four generational cohorts. Their answers were analyzed with statistic procedures. Findings – Findings reveal that younger generations are less willing to remain in the same organization and have lower organizational commitment. The youngest generations (Early and Late Xers, born 1960 and after) show stronger learning orientation and lower organizational commitment than older generations (Early and Late Boomers, born 1946‐1959). Learning orientation predicted the intention to remain in the same organization for Early Xers and Late Xers. Organizational commitment mediated this relationship. For Late Boomers and Early Xers, it mediated the relationship between specific leadership development intentions and intention to stay. Research limitations/implications – Managerial, job‐related learning is confirmed as an important antecedent for the intention to stay/leave one's current organization. The differential meaning of learning and commitment across generations needs to be better understood in order to develop effective strategies for the retention of talent in all generations. In particular, differences in the psychological contract between organizations and their managers need to be understood. Practical implications – The findings suggest an approach of generation‐specific HR practices for talent retention. Originality/value – The study is one of the first to date to address leadership development and learning orientation in the context of talent retention, as well as one of the first to address the discussion of generational challenges in Europe and across the specific population of people in managerial roles.
Journal of Managerial Psychology – Emerald Publishing
Published: Nov 7, 2008
Keywords: Age groups; Retention; Managers
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